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Bellingham City Council approves $4 per hour hazard pay for grocery workers

Shoppers wait to check out at Ferndale Grocery Outlet (March 13, 2020). Photo: Whatcom News
Shoppers wait to check out at Ferndale Grocery Outlet (March 13, 2020). Photo: Whatcom News

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham City Council members voted 5 to 2, with Gene Knutson and Pinky Vargas opposed, to approve an ordinance requiring grocery stores that employ over 40 employees in the City of Bellingham to pay some workers an additional $4 per hour as a hazard pay for working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ordinance goes into effect in 2 weeks and in 4 months the council will review of the current health, safety, and economic risks of frontline work during the COVID-19 emergency to determine whether to end, modify or continue the ordinance.

The vote followed a public hearing during the meeting.

Similar ordinances have been approved in other major metropolitan areas following Seattle’s adoption in February 2021.

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