Grocery Store Workers Protest in Boston, Demanding Protection from Coronavirus

Grocery stores have been declared essential businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic

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Workers from a number of Massachusetts grocery stores protested Tuesday to demand "adequate protections" for employees amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Workers from Stop & Shop, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Shaw's held the protest at the Whole Foods store in Boston's South End at 11 a.m.

Lisa Wilson, who works at the Shaw's Supermarket in Hyde Park was among the protesters who say they are worried about their safety in the face of COVID-19.

Workers feel the larger corporations have been slow to take the steps needed to create social distancing within stores.

"I think grocery stores like to look like they're doing things and they'll put the tape down and they'll put signs and things like that, but as far as actually enforcing it and making sure people are actually staying a certain amount of feet apart and things are getting cleaned and sanitized as much as they should… that's not really happening," Wilson said.

Tuesday's 30 protesters lined the sidewalk outside the store while staying at least six feet apart.

"Is this smart? The coalition of grocery store workers said we need to do this because they're in the store anyway," union electrician Toya Chester said. "And it's funny because other people are saying, 'Oh you shouldn't do this protest,' but they have no problems going into the store and waiting in line."

Grocery stores have been declared essential businesses by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker during the coronavirus pandemic, which had killed 260 people in the state as of Monday.

Many stores have shifted their hours and are offering early-morning hours to shoppers over the age of 60.

Employees from several grocery stores across the state, including Whole Foods in Hingham and Stop & Shop in Kingston and Norwell, have tested positive for the virus.

Massachusetts health officials announced 1,337 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 13,837.

The majority of those positive cases continue to be residents living in Middlesex, Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Worcester and Plymouth counties.

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