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Grocery Stores Safe for All to Work, Shop In

Masks, increasedvaccination rates for employees, shoppers keeping stores safe

Tammie Hetrick, President and CEO of the Washington Food Industry Association (WFIA) said Mayor Durkan’s decision to veto a repeal of Seattle’s hazard pay ordinance contradicts scientific data about the safety of grocery stores during the pandemic.

“We want to reassure grocery employees and shoppers that grocery and convenience stores remain a safe place to work and visit. The proof is in the data: Independent grocers have had less than 1% of employees test positive since vaccinations increased to 85%. Any outbreaks that may be occurring in the Seattle community are not happening at grocery stores. This is a false representation and suggests that grocery stores are unsafe – that’s simply not the case,” said Hetrick.

“Grocery stores have played a critical role in distributing vaccines to communities in Seattle and all across Washington state. Employees in neighborhood grocery stores and convenience stores have taken the vaccinations seriously and are doing their part to ensure stores stay open and safe for all,” continued Hetrick.

“You can’t keep imposing pay mandates without seeing an impact on stores. These extra employee costs have real effects on small, family-owned grocery stores, who are not making record profits. In fact, it’s the opposite as they struggle to keep products on shelves as costs for everything continue to climb. Independent grocers have had significant losses because of this mandate, and that only hurts consumers because costs have to be passed through in the form of higher prices. It’s basic economics.                  

“It’s important to note that all businesses are open in Seattle and King County. People have returned to attending sporting events, concerts, church events and other large public gatherings. Grocery stores should not be singled out and repeatedly penalized,” she added.

“It is wholly unfair to say that only grocery stores are unsafe and it ignores that data that says we are, in fact, safe for all who work and visit.”

You can download the press release HERE.