WISCONSIN— As the governor and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services continue to map out the priority list of who can get the vaccine, grocery store workers were added to the phase 1B group. This puts them next in line to get vaccinated.

Since last March, grocery store workers across the U.S. have been put on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the plans to roll out the vaccine, grocery store workers were not originally on plan 1B.

“Last week it was a bit of a downer that we weren’t important and we have been here since day one,” Metcalfe Market owner, Tim Metcalfe says.

Metcalfe, a third-generation grocer who owns three Metcalfe Markets in Wisconsin has been writing letters advocating for those working in grocery stores.

“We wrote letters and advocated for our workers to ask them to reconsider. Roughly over 5,000 people responded to comments that were due yesterday and half of those were for grocery store workers,” Metcalfe says.

Hearing the news that he and his employees will be among many to be prioritized for vaccination brought a huge smile to his face. 

“I’m just excited, elated. Our employees feel validated. They have worked very hard since March, since the beginning of this pandemic. When everyone was safe at home they were here and it was scary,” Metcalfe says.

While details of exactly how this rollout will look, he along with many other frontline workers have hope moving forward.

“Now having the vaccine being distributed and getting out in the general public I am very hopeful that soon we can have our lives back to normal. We can go to birthday parties, have our grandchildren over and celebrate all the life successes we all have,” Metcalfe says.