By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13)  — When you think of those on the front lines of this public health crisis, nurses and doctors are the first to come to mind, but as this continues, attention and appreciation is being brought onto our grocery employees.

At least once or twice a week — that’s the number of times people like Nia Mondy stop into the store by choice. She stocks up on food and other things needed to make it through this stay-at-home order.

Others have no choice at all to grab a cart and go inside. They just do.

“These people are risking their lives, every day,” Mondy said. “Their health. For us.”

Grocery store workers are members of the group you may not immediately think of when talking about those on the front lines, but folks say they’re an important one, nonetheless.

“Certainly appreciate what they’re doing,” said Leslie, who shopped at Safeway on Tuesday. “Almost like they should get hazard pay.”

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Prioritizing grocery employees caught the attention of Governor Newsom after a conversation with John Grant, the President of the United Food and Commercial Workers labor union. He’s based out of Los Angeles and told Newsom he knew of a grocery employee who died due to lack of protection.

“We haven’t done as much as we needed to do for them. To provide them the kind of breaks they need, to wash their hands,” Newsom said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Grant told CBS13 grocery stores are hot spots for contagion and with that added risk, these employees may be getting more than they bargained for.

“You get to quarantine everybody in the city but if they all come together and re-infect each other, this is not going to go away,” Grant said.

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He’s calling for more social distancing inside, more protective gear and continuous sanitizing to keep our communities safe.

“They’re in our PTAs and our little league and soccer coaches,” Grant said. “This is who we need to protect.”

Those in the community recognize their efforts and say they’re grateful.

“Anybody on the front lines right now, it’s so important you give thanks for that,” said Mondy.

Heather Janssen


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