Board of Supervisors Adopts Ordinance to Protect Retail Grocery, Drug Store and Food Delivery Workers During COVID-19 Crisis

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an interim urgency ordinance to protect retail grocery, drug store and food delivery platform workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, in un-incorporated LA County. The interim urgency ordinance will go into effect immediately and will require all retail grocery and drug stores to establish sanitary practices and workplace safety protections on their premises; and provide sanitizing products and protective face coverings to help protect the health and safety of vulnerable customers, members and delivery workers.

“As more guidelines are being placed for first-responders, we must set stricter guidelines for those in the food and grocery sector. Food and grocery stores have become essential in this difficult time, and we do all that we can to support and protect them with the resources we have available, including appropriate protective equipment and policies,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.

Authored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, the ordinance specifically  calls for employers to be required to sanitize and stock all bathrooms with necessary supplies, clean stores and shopping carts between uses, require employees to wash their hands every 30 minutes, provide sanitizing stations at the entrance of all stores, provide adequate security to enforce social distancing, establish operating hours to restock and prohibit retaliation for exercising their rights.

“Grocery and pharmacy workers and food delivery drivers have unexpectedly found themselves at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic, yet stores have not provided sufficient health or safety protections,” said John Grant, President of UFCW Local 770. “We thank Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for leading the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to implement necessary measures that protect workers who are risking their health to serve their communities.”

“We’re grateful for the County’s leadership responding to and acting on our concerns of worker health and safety,” said Pascual Villa De LA Cruz, of Albertsons in South LA. “These measures will not only protect us — workers who are in busy stores every day — but the public across Los Angeles County as well.”

Since the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared a Local Emergency on March 4th and the Los Angeles County Health Officer issued a revised Safer at Home Order on March 21st, retail grocery and drug stores have remained open to provide essential services while many other brick and mortar stores have temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many people who are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus, including those aged 65 and older or with underlying health conditions, have turned to food delivery platforms to survive.

“In the middle of this global health emergency our grocery store, delivery, and drug store workers are now front-line responders. Their work is essential to keeping our County running and we need to make sure they have the tools they need to do their jobs safely.  Today’s ordinance ensures employers in these sectors are sufficiently staffed and are able to provide the protective and sanitary equipment employees need to keep themselves and the public healthy,” stated Supervisor Janice Hahn.

For more information regarding education and training on proper food handling, please visit the County’s Department of Public Health at publichealth.lacounty.gov