While health care professionals may be the first ones who come to mind when we think of essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus battle, many other people are still working so that basic services we take for granted continue to operate during this time. Grocery stores have been deemed essential services and employees are still showing up to work, even though they could be exposed to coronavirus.
To thank these employees for working through this difficult time, several stores are giving their entire workforces a much-needed day off. Many stores have chosen Easter Sunday as a day of reprieve for dedicated employees. Trader Joe's announced the day off on its website Monday.
"All Trader Joe's Stores will be CLOSED on Easter Sunday, April 12th to give our incredible Crew Members a much needed day of rest," the site reads.
Target will also be closed on Easter, which will be a day off for workers who risk their lives by interacting with the public each day. The company has already provided its employees several new benefits for working during the crisis.
"For weeks, our incredible front-line team members have played a crucial role as families turn to Target during the coronavirus pandemic," the company's website reads. "On top of the $300 million+ team investment and paid leave we've already committed to, we're also setting aside dedicated time for our store and distribution center team members to shop for essentials, such as food, baby products and medicine."
Some stores, like Publix, are traditionally closed on Easter. "Historically, we have this time off in order to allow our associates an opportunity to spend time with family and friends," Maria Brous, director of communications for Publix, told CBS News via email. "As we are in unprecedented times, we realize social distancing may change the way we celebrate, but we will remain closed for the holiday."
According to multiple reports, other stores like Sam's Club and Costco will also be closed on Easter for their employees. CBS News has reached out to these and several other grocery store chains to confirm.
Whether or not this is a planned day off or a bonus day for employees, it will be a respite during a time when work may be overwhelming. Not only are these food stores still operating, but they are now often overcrowded as customers try to stock up on emergency items. Most grocery stores evenso they could shop at a less busy time and are therefore less likely to be exposed to coronavirus.