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Pico-Robertson Ralphs Closing Over Hazard Pay Mandate, Upsetting Local Jewish Community

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- A vote to increase pay for employees at large grocery chains in the city of Los Angeles was met by a decision to close down certain store locations instead of instating "hero pay" during the pandemic.

One of such locations is the Ralphs in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, which carries an extensive kosher section and caters to the large Jewish community in the area.

The store at Pico Boulevard and Beverwil Drive has been in operation since 1996 and is expected to close its doors on May 15, along with at least two other locations.

Some of the other stores that owner Kroger Co. is closing include another Ralphs in South L.A. and a Food 4 Less in East Hollywood.

RELATED: Protesters March Down Aisles Of Food 4 Less In East Hollywood Over Store's Impending Closure

The unanimous L.A. City Council vote to approve emergency hazard pay for grocery store employees, who face health risks during the pandemic, happened in early February.

The pay ordinance requires large grocery stores and pharmacies to offer employees an additional $5 per hour amid the pandemic.

Long Beach also had a similar mandate, and some stores there too closed as a result.

California Grocers Association (CGA) officials called the city mandates an overreach while critics argued that Kroger can afford to pay employees more when the company's profits went up 90% in 2020.

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