Mark Clairmont |

Groceries are essential according to the province.

So are the men and women who work there stocking shelves and checking you out.

Never more than now, with those self-isolating and social distancing shopping online.

At the YIG in Gravenhurs, employee Jill Master was run off her feet today filling online orders and placing the food right cars trunk: no contact involved.

There is no extra charge for staff to shop for your groceries or deliver them to your vehicle.

And finally workers are getting a little love from the large chain employers.

Galen Weston, who head ups stores like Loblaws, YIGs and Shopper’s Drug Mart is giving workers a temporary 15 per cent raise retroactive to March 8. That’s about $2 per hour.

As well, Sobey’s will also pay its workers $2 an hour more and give them a $50 a week bonus.

Both stores are also providing cashiers with Plexiglas shields to keep potential viruses from spreading between customers and staff.

According to Weston, he said this week: “We have made the decision to temporarily increase compensation for our store and distribution centre colleagues by approximately 15% retroactive to March 8th in recognition of their outstanding and ongoing efforts keeping our stores open and operating so effectively.

“Our extraordinary teams are motivated by what they see as a responsibility to Canadians and the opportunity to make a difference. But, unlike so many businesses across the country right now, our supermarkets and pharmacies are performing well.

“And the leaders in our business wanted to make sure that a significant portion of that benefit would go straight into the pockets of the incredible people on the front line and in our distribution centres.”


With March break over, schools and child-care centres remain closed.

Kids whose parents are frontline and essential workers must still find alternative care.

Lee Ann Rogers, program manager with the Muskoka Family Focus and Children’s Place, said today that she hadn’t had any special requests for extended care.

That after the province’s extraordinary announcement Monday about a massive closure Tuesday.

Ontario said certain day cares would be allowed to re-open to accommodate workers essential workers’ children.

Rogers said as of now she has no plans to open.

And she was surprised that she had no calls Monday, while she and another worker were at the office finishing up paperwork for employees to apply for Employment Insurance.

A full list of which workplaces must close will be released Tuesday.

YIG employee Jill Masters puts groceries in the trunk of waiting vehicle as cars line up Monday afternoon in Gravenhurst to take advantage of the PC Express online grocery shopping website.

Email Mark Clairmont at


Celebrating 25 YEARS of ‘Local Online Journalism’

Follow him at Twitter @muskokatodaily

And on Facebook at

Follow us on Twitter @muskokatodaily

And on Facebook at mclairmont1


Letters to the Editor always welcome:

Let us know what you’re thinking. Click on the Comment button at the end of this story to leave your comments.

Or write a Letter to the Editor …

And … please Subscribe:

Support Your Community’s Newspaper