Kevin Smith has worked at the Longmont King Soopers for 12 years. He said he was already planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but the $100 store credit and 1,000 fuel points from Kroger are a welcomed bonus.
"I always knew I was going to get the vaccine, so it really didn't change anything, but I was really happy to hear that the company was going to do something for the employees," he said. "It's going to be motivating for some of the employees to get the vaccine."
Kroger, which operates in 25 states, will give all employees who get both doses of the vaccine the credit and points. Employees who can't get the vaccine for health or religious reasons will have the opportunity to take an educational health and safety course to receive the payment.
COVID Vaccines In Colorado: Your Always Up-To-Date Guide To Finding The Info You Need
Grocery store workers are in phase 1B.3 along with postal and transportation workers and people age 16-64 with two or more conditions that make them high risk for the virus. The state estimates that those in this phase will start getting vaccinated next month.
According to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 13 grocery stores owned by Kroger in Colorado have active outbreaks of COVID-19.
Tim Massa, Kroger's chief people officer said in a press release that the company has spent more than $1.5 billion to reward and protect employees and to implement safety protocols.
"As we move into a new phase of the pandemic, we're increasing our investment to not only recognize our associates' contributions, but also encourage them to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available to them to optimize their well-being as well as the community's," Massa said.
Smith thinks the benefits will encourage some employees who may be on the fence about getting the vaccine to do it. For him, the vaccine will give him peace of mind that he isn't brining home COVID-19 to his wife who has a congenital heart defect.
"When I do get the vaccine, it's going to make me feel a little more at ease working with the public," he said. "We want to be as careful as possible."
More stories about Colorado's COVID-19 vaccine rollout:
Editor's Note: A limited number of CPR News journalists have started to receive vaccinations according to the state's prioritization of essential frontline workers.