Some food service industry workers say they should be considered front-line essential

Local News

"We should definitely be at the top of that list."

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Workers in the food service industry are next in line for the COVID-19-vaccine after grocery store workers.

Phase 1B began on Jan. 25. This means the entire state of Illinois can start making COVID-19 vaccine appointments for those eligible under this phase.

Phase 1B includes residents age 65 and older as well as frontline essential workers.

In a press conference Thursday, Jan. 28, Peoria City/County Public Health Administrator Monica Hendrickson provided details on the groups listed under Phase 1B. She said those under Phase 1B includes grocery store workers, baggers, cashiers, stockers, pickup, and customer service.

Some servers and bartenders said they work in a high-risk environment and should get the vaccine with frontline essential workers.

“We should definitely be at the top of that list along with everyone else because we are around a lot of people, especially on a busy Friday and Saturday night,” Elena Medina, a server at Olympia Sports Bar and Grill said.

Her Bar Manager, Andrew Watson agreed, adding, “We should be on the same priority lists as supermarket workers.”

Shopping at your local grocery store does require you to keep your mask on, but what about dining in?

“It does affect restaurants…It’s obviously hard to eat and drink while wearing a mask,” Watson said.

Medina and Watson said they are surrounded by people consistently taking off their masks, which puts them at risk.

Hendrickson said the food service industry does not meet the state’s requirement of a front-line worker.

“While they do provide food, again, it’s going back that these are front-line essential workers and the work that they do are part of functioning society as a whole,” Hendrickson said.

Under the Illinois Phase 4 of Restore Illinois Plan, customers are required to wear a face-covering anytime an employee comes to the table.

Last week, the Peoria County Health Department said it could be weeks before people in Phase 1C can get vaccinated. If you qualify under 1B, you can now make an appointment to get your COVID-19 vaccine at participating pharmacies.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local News

More Local News