SHERMAN OAKS—Amid the news of two Ralphs Grocery workers passing from COVID-19, protests on Friday, May 15 took place as frontline workers advocated for their extra $2 an hour “Hero Pay” to be extended as the termination came closer.

The hazard pay began in April with the partnership of Kroger and was already extended once through Saturday, May 16 in an announcement made May 4 from the company. In a video posted on Twitter, Chief People Officer of Kroger Tim Massa said the overall safety of employees was of most importance:

“Your overall well-being is top of mind in all of our decisions,” he said. “As we all start to the path of recovery, we are pleased to announce a final extension of the ‘Hero Bonus Premium’ that will go through Saturday, May 16.”

Shortly after protests began, Ralphs released another statement on Facebook outlining the one time “Thank You Pay” bonus given to all employees:

“We announced today a special Thank You Pay, totaling an additional $130 million, to hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates to acknowledge their dedication to maintaining safe, clean and stocked stores.”

The company continues to offer COVID-19 testing to associates based on symptoms and expression of medical need as well as adapting their store hours to help with cleaning and stocking in a safe manner.