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Grocery Store Workers Are On The Front Lines Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

An H-E-B employee wears a mask while checking groceries.
Photo courtesy of H-E-B Newsroom

While many Americans are hunkered down at home under shelter-in-place protective orders, more than 2 million U.S. grocery store employees are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Designated an essential service, grocers are not only still open but in overdrive to meet increased demand. Store workers around the country frequently interact with customers, risking their health every day to keep Americans fed, but don't get the kind of vocal support bestowed upon other front-line workers. 

San Antonio's go-to grocer H-E-B has been lauded for its level of crisis preparation and efforts to protect and support its employees. What measures have been implemented to ensure workers' health and safety, and were they effective? What is the protocol if an employee is exposed to coronavirus?

What guidelines has the Centers for Disease Control issued regarding safety practices for critical infrastructure workers like grocery employees, and do they go far enough? What rights do essential workers have in a pandemic?

How do H-E-B and other grocers prepare employees to work on the front-lines of a pandemic? What additional support is available? How important is consumer behavior to grocery workers' health?


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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, April 22.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.