Feb. 7 (UPI) — Kroger has announced a one-time payment of $100 to associates who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
To receive the $100 payment, associates will need to receive the “full manufacturer-recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine” and present proof of vaccination to their human resources representative, according to the announcement Friday.
Associates not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine because of medical or religious reasons prohibiting them from doing so, can complete an educational and health and safety course to receive payment, Kroger said in the statement.
The grocery chain also announced a $50 million investment for associates across its stores in 35 states, which includes a $100 store credit and 1,000 fuel points for hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates, to be added to their loyalty cards on Thursday.
“We know that the most effective defense against this pandemic comes in the form of the COVID-19 vaccine and the continuation of the rigorous safety precautions we’ve established across our stores, manufacturing facilities and supply chain,” Dr. Marc Watkins, Kroger’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. “We are strongly encouraging all customers and associates to receive the vaccine to curb the spread of COVID-19, and we’ll do all we can to ensure they have access as soon as it’s available.”
So far, Kroger health professionals have administered more than 200,000 COVID-19 vaccines to essential health care workers, skilled-nursing facility employees and residents and some elderly populations, according to the statement.
Other grocery chains, such as Aldi’s, Trader Joe’s and Dollar General — as well as the grocery delivery service Instacart — have announced similar moves, CNN Business reported.
Earlier this week, CNN reported that Kroger announced it would permanently close two stores in Long Beach Calif., to avoid paying workers an extra $4 per hour for at least four months in hazard pay during the pandemic under a citywide ordinance, upsetting workers and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents grocery store workers.
Health experts have cited vaccine availability as a key factor in slowing cases.
As of Friday, about 35.2 million people in the United States have received at least one dose, and almost 7 million people have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.