By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania is dedicating $50 million in grant funding to help employers pay essential workers hazard pay during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday. The funding will go to workers in life-sustaining industries such as health care, grocery stores and public transit.

“The folks who work in places like Giant and have worked here through this pandemic, that have actually been putting their lives on the line for us. They work in hospitals in addition to places like Giant. They work in assistant living facilities, they work in urgent care facilities and centers,” Wolf said. “They work in grocery stores and convenience stores. They work in farms, food processing plants. They drive buses, they drive trucks, they drive ambulances. They interact with the public, and that is unavoidable in all of these jobs. With COVID-19, that has brought increased risks with that interaction with the public. These Pennsylvanians deserve to be paid for the risk they are taking for all of us.”

Officials said the funds will be used to pay full-time and part-time employees making $20 per hour or less hazard pay for a 10-week period, from Aug. 16 to Oct. 24.

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Eligible employers can apply for up to $1,200 for each eligible employee and provide hazard pay for up to 500 eligible employees per location, according to officials.

Grants for an eligible employer are capped at $3 million, officials said.

The grant funding was made possible by the CARES Act.

Employers can apply by completing an application online by clicking here from July 16 and July 31.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania reported 781 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 98,446. There were 16 new deaths, bringing the death toll up to 6,973.