The state of Minnesota took the bold step this week of classifying grocery store workers as emergency personnel. The move allows those workers to access free child care provided by the state, so they can continue to serve the public.

As the practice of social distancing is ramping up and restaurants and bars remain closed, grocery store workers have essentially become first responders to the crisis, making sure everybody stays well stocked with food and drink. They are literally on the front lines.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recognized the role grocery store workers play in his communities. He added store clerks, stockers, food preparation personnel, cleaning staff and deli staff at grocery stores to the list of “Emergency Tier 2” workers. Workers with school-age children are now also entitled to free-care provided by school districts.

Meanwhile, in Vermont

Previously, Vermont did not consider food workers as emergency personnel, but noted that the definition of essential employees could evolve. But the governor of Vermont said on Wednesday that he will take the same measure that Minnesota did.

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