Protecting Retail Grocery, Drug Store and Food Delivery Workers During COVID-19 Crisis

 

Photo by: Getty Images/ Cavan Images

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to protect retail grocery, drug store and food delivery platform workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The motion authored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn aims to provide workers with the supplies, tools and equipment necessary to protect them and the public they are serving.

“As the necessary precautions to protect our most first responders and health care workers are being put in place across the country, we must not forget or workers in the delivery service industry,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “In these difficult times, a visit to the grocery store makes extraordinarily clear that food and grocery delivery drivers are essential worker and we must do all that we can to protect them. This motion will provide these vital individuals with the fundamental items that will protect their health and well-being.”

Photo by: Getty Images/People Images

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.

“We’re now two weeks into this crisis and we still do not have uniform standards across all grocery stores and pharmacies to protect workers and customers. Grocery workers are essential and they need basic protections no matter where they are working. As the largest county in California, we can lead the way and set the standard for the entire state. We need this level of immediate action to stop the spread of COVID-19,” UFCW Local 770 President John Grant said.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion 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, provide access to COVID-19 testing, support employees so that they may address childcare and family needs, and prohibit retaliation for exercising their rights.

“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 motion 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 http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/