Hazard pay grant program will give money to frontline workers

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MONTPELIER, VT – Health officials say no major outbreaks and Vermont’s positivity rate, and number of COVID cases staying low.

On Tuesday, the governor outlined a hazard pay program for those frontline workers who kept us safe during the most crucial time of the pandemic.

The hazard pay grant program will give money to thousands of frontline health care workers, essential workers, and human service workers in Vermont.

“Vermonters recognized early on the incredible sacrifice of these workers who stepped up in a time of crisis to serve and protect their fellow Vermonters,” said Scott.

Governor Scott explained that employers of those essential workers should apply ASAP because grants will be given on a first come first serve basis.

The program is open right now for employers for Vermonters to apply at humanservices.vermont.gov. You can also find a list of eligible workers on the website.

Secretary of the Agency of Human Services Mike Smith said people eligible to receive some of the $28 million available through the program, had to have worked from March 13th – May 15. They had to have been working in person with a greater risk of catching COVID-19. They also must make $25 per hour or less.

“Once an employer determines they meet the requirement and should apply, they will then determine which of their employees are eligible to receive the pay,” said Secretary Smith.

Scott said CARES Act guidelines will not allow the state to offer hazard pay to people like grocery store and gas station workers.

Meanwhile, officials also discussed the situation involving 85 Vermont inmates testing positive at a Mississippi facility.

“In hindsight I should have seen this coming in some respects, but we were relying on CoreCivic to do the testing, but they were testing on symptomatic cases and not throughout,” said Scott.

Officials feel this could be a call to action to build a new facility in Vermont so the state doesn’t rely on out of state facilities.

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