Following the April 7, 2020 Worker Protection Order issued by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed an Ordinance adding additional safeguards for workers (defined as an “employee or an independent contractor, that either physically works at a retail location that is open to the public and sells groceries, or shops or picks up prepared foods, groceries and other orders from a Restaurant, Retail Grocery Store and/or Retail Drug Store to deliver to a consumer”) in:

  • Retail Grocery Stores (defined as a store that “sells primarily food or household goods, including fresh produce, meats, poultry, fish, deli products, dairy products, canned foods, dry foods, beverages, baked goods, and/or prepared foods”);
  • Retail Drug Stores (defined as a store that “sells a variety of prescription and non-prescription medicines and miscellaneous items, including but not limited to drugs, pharmaceuticals, sundries, fresh produce, meats, poultry, fish, deli products, dairy products, canned foods, dry foods, beverages, and prepared foods”) and;
  • Food Delivery Platforms (defined as “a business that utilizes an online website or other similar presences to interact with customers and acts as an intermediary between its customers/consumers and a Retail Grocery Store, Retail Drug Store and/or Restaurant”).

The Ordinance applies to workers throughout un-incorporated areas within the County of Los Angeles.  A list of un-incorporated areas can be found here.

The Ordinance requires that Retail Grocery Stores and Retail Drug Stores provide workers “who touch products for sale or otherwise interact with customers” at the Employer’s expense, the following:

  • Gloves (if commercially available);
  • Hand sanitizer (if commercially available);
  • Disinfecting cleaning products and other necessary sanitary tools and supplies;
  • Face coverings (non-medical grade);
  • Plexiglass barriers at all points of sale stations between a customer and a worker; and
  • Appropriate training on the proper use, cleaning, and maintenance of the items above.

The Ordinance also requires that Retail Grocery Stores and Retail Drug Stores:

  • Make available dedicated hand-washing or sanitizing stations in all stores for use by workers prior to beginning their shifts;
  • Permit workers to wash their hands at least every thirty (30) minutes;
  • Require workers to wear face coverings (non-medical grade) while on premises;
  • Provide workers access to sanitary restrooms stocked with necessary soap, towels, toilet seat covers and toilet paper;
  • Provide restroom access to Food Delivery Platform workers for “hand-washing purposes”;
  • Provide dedicated shopping time “solely” for customers age 60 and over (as opposed to some stores that have permitted special hours for customers age 65 and over); and
  • Place “proper signage” at entrances to stores informing customers of social distancing requirements (e.g. six feet distance) with “visible markers for customers in line…at point of sale stations.”

Additionally, the Ordinance requires that Retail Grocery Stores and Retail Drug Stores be “maintained in clean condition, and shall cause the shopping carts and baskets to be sanitized between each use,” and that Retail Grocery Stores and Retail Drug Stores cannot “unreasonably withhold approval of a worker’s request to change a work schedule due to childcare/family needs arising from a Health Officer Order, or due to a worker experiencing symptoms with COVID-19.”

Notably, the Order permits Retail Grocery Stores and Retail Drug Stores to “refuse admission or service to any individual who is not wearing a face covering.”

For Food Delivery Platforms, the Ordinance requires that they “provide either (1) a face covering (non-medical grade), and gloves and/or hand sanitizer, or (2) a stipend or other sufficient, available funds for the purchase of face covering (non-medical grade), and gloves and/or sanitizers.”  Additionally, Food Delivery Platforms must now require workers to “wash or sanitize their hands prior to handling any food for delivery,” and must offer its customers “no-contact” delivery options so deliveries can be made without workers coming into close physical contact with customers.

Importantly, the Ordinance also contains a “Retaliation Prohibited” section, which states that Retail Grocery Stores, Retail Drug Stores, and Food Delivery Platforms “shall be prohibited from retaliating against a worker for exercising rights granted by the [Ordinance] or for complying with any Health Officer Order.”  An example in the Ordinance includes taking adverse action against a worker, including reduction of work hours or compensation.  The Ordinance also states that a worker is presumed to be an employee of an employer, and that the employer “has the burden to demonstrate that a worker is not an employee.”

The Ordinance will sunset after the Covid-19 outbreak has ended and emergency orders are lifted.