As new information is released each day pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic, industry associations are keeping their members informed while local grocers continue to help those in need. The California Grocers Association (CGA) has been issuing updates to its members on government mandates as they are adopted. And Smart & Final, through its foundation, is reaching out to help hungry families and exhausted medical professionals.
CGA updates members on recent actions
The CGA issued an update on March 31 regarding several items affecting its members. These include new San Francisco Bay-area social distancing mandates for grocers, Los Angeles emergency ordinances and a SNAP allotment update.
County health directors from six San Francisco Bay-area counties have extended their stay-at-home order and added more and stricter social distancing mandates, which impact grocery stores. The counties making this order include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara.
The new order requires essential businesses, which includes grocery stores, to develop, implement and post a social distancing protocol before April 3. These required protocols include specific measures to protect employee health, prevent crowds, prevent unnecessary contact and to increase sanitization standards.
The stay-at-home order went into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31. The Social Distancing Protocol for each essential facility must be posted at the entrance of each facility and visible to the public and employees no later than 11:59 p.m. on April 2.
It is expected that other Bay Area Counties beyond the initial six also will mirror this order. It could also serve as a template for other counties and cities across California.
City of Los Angeles emergency ordinances
The Los Angeles City Council has sent several ordinances to Mayor Eric Garcetti which would impact grocery operations. These include measures concerning employee rights to request schedule changes, offering of hours to existing employees before hiring new employees and special store hours.
The ordinances are still pending the mayor’s decision before they become law. CGA has been in daily communication with Garcetti’s staff regarding ordinance impacts and spoke with several councilmember offices before they were passed.
California has applied for supplemental SNAP allotments. The March emergency allotments (estimated to be about $254 million in benefits statewide) will be available to clients on Sunday, April 11.
The April emergency allotment (probably more than $254 million statewide because of recent increase in application volume) will be available to clients on Sunday, May 10.
Smart & Final working with Feeding America
The Smart & Final Charitable Foundation is working directly with 15 Feeding America partners in Smart & Final markets to provide cash donations between $2,000 and $3,000 each, and bags for distributing food donations, totaling between 3,000 and 5,000 bags per chapter.
The Smart & Final Charitable Foundation donated 1,500 plastic reusable bags and 3,000 3-5 lb. bags of apples and oranges to its Community Partner Olive Crest-USA for its food distribution on March 26. More than 2,000 families received 3,000 bags of food at the event that catered to both families in Olive Crest programs, and other families in need.
Also, the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation is donating $10,000 worth of product to help medical professionals at the University of California Irvine who are providing care for coronavirus patients get the groceries they need.
An on-site pantry has been set up to facilitate an easy grab-and-go place for exhausted healthcare workers to get the food and supplies they need.