LONG BEACH (CBSLA) – The Long Beach City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with a plan which will require large grocery stores to pay workers an extra $4 per hour in hazard pay because of the risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
The council approved an ordinance that requires grocers with at least 300 employees nationwide to provide their employees with the extra money for at least the next 120 days, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
"When large corporations don't step up to provide hazard pay for grocery workers, we will step in and protect these heroes," Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia tweeted. "Thank you to the Long Beach City Council for adopting the emergency $4 hazard pay for grocery workers. I'm going to sign the law as soon as it hits my desk."
Garcia lost both his mother and stepfather to COVID-19 over the summer and has been vocal about the effects of the pandemic.
Galen Evans is a clerk at a Ralphs in Long Beach and says he's happy to hear about the raise he'll be getting. He tells us he's been working nonstop throughout the pandemic.
"I definitely feel it's deserved due to the fact we are essential workers, front lines, in stores with a lot of people," Evans said.
Tuesday's vote called on the city attorney to draft an ordinance which the council will then vote again on. It's unclear exactly when the ordinance would take effect.
Back in March and April as the pandemic was unfolding, several major grocery stores and retailers – including the likes of Kroger, Walmart, Target and Albertsons – provided their employees with one-time bonuses or temporary wage increases of $2 per hour.
Long Beach has recorded 21,973 coronavirus cases and 302 deaths from the disease through Monday. There were 292 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Long Beach as of Monday as well.
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