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Eyemart Express Pays Frontline Associates Bonuses for COVID-19 Vaccinations

Optical retailer supports employees who wish to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

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(PRESS RELEASE) DALLAS, TX — Eyemart Express, a leading national optical retailer known for providing affordable and high-quality prescription eyewear in as little as 30 minutes, announces the company is paying bonuses to frontline associates who receive COVID-19 vaccines. All employees in the optical retailer’s 228 stores, including store associates, lab technicians, and distribution center associates, will get a one-time payment that is the equivalent to four hours of pay after receiving the recommended doses.

Eyemart Express is one of the first retailers in the optical industry to offer a monetary incentive for employees to get vaccinated. Although the company is encouraging its associates to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations to receive COVID-19 vaccines, it is not requiring them to do so.

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“The safety of our Eyemart family has remained our top priority, and our associates have been instrumental in continuing to help people see clearly, in a safe manner, in the communities that we serve,” says Bill Butler, Eyemart Express chief operations officer. “We want to remove any obstacles, that we can control, for our associates who wish to focus on their health and take time to get vaccinated. This bonus covers any wages that may be lost due to our associates having to take time off from work in order to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.”

The optical retailer is also providing all frontline associates with essential service letters to help them qualify for the appropriate vaccination group in their state. Eyemart Express associates simply need to present a completed vaccination card showing proof of recommended doses to receive the bonus.

“Our associates have been the center of every decision we have made since the pandemic started last spring,” says Gianna Venturi, Eyemart Express Chief People Officer. “We have taken care of our Eyemart family throughout this unparalleled time, remaining true to our compassion, trust, and transparency culture pillars.”

While Eyemart Express was able to remain open due to its status as an essential medical business by helping people see clearly, the retailer opted to temporarily suspend operations in March 2020 in order to source personal protective equipment (PPE) and ample cleaning supplies to keep associates as safe as possible. Eyemart Express responsibly began re-opening stores in May 2020.

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The optical retailer has also worked to support associates across the company’s 41-state footprint by:

  • Paying associates for a portion of the time that store operations were temporarily suspended
  • Covering the employee portion of all associate health care contributions for the entire duration of the furlough period
  • Paying associates who were furloughed a bonus to help bridge the gap between their last paycheck and the start of unemployment benefits
  • Ensuring all associates kept their jobs following the furlough period and paying “welcome back” bonuses once it was safe to resume store operations
  • Providing additional paid time off compensation for frontline associates
  • Continuing transparent communications directly from Eyemart Express CEO Michael Bender
  • Providing mental health support and resources for all associates and their families through a partnership with nonprofit PeaceLove (peacelove.org)

Eyemart Express continues to operate all stores with the highest standard of enhanced safety protocols, requiring all associates and customers to wear masks, limiting the number of people in a store at one time to ensure social distancing, and disinfecting all frames after every use by customers.

Find a local Eyemart Express store here.

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