Grocery stores are always an essential business in terms of consumers who need groceries. However, the term “essential business” took on a whole meaning under the current state regulations. Both employees and customers now face a new experience in the grocery aisles.
Now, some grocery stores face backlash for not maintaining California’s current regulations surrounding Covid-19 exposure and their workers’ health. The California Department of Industrial Relations fined five Los Angeles-area grocery stores between $13,500 and $25,560 for failing to meet current Covid-19 restrictions.
What does this mean for the stores?
All five locations were owned by Cincinnati, Ohio-based Kroger Co. and allowed too many customers in the store – which made social distancing a challenge for other consumers and grocery store employees.
There were more serious allegations surrounding two of the locations where the stores did not appropriately report employee fatalities correlating to Covid-19. There are also issues with ineffective training, lack of measures to avoid infection, no barriers between employees and customers and no instructions on the use of cleaners or disinfectants.
While the company did not comment on the fines, there is an argument centering on how intensive the regulations are on small, local businesses. They may have more challenges developing new pieces of training, incorporating barriers and implementing the use of cleaners or disinfectants.
There are major consequences beyond money for local grocery stores that do not follow regulations. Those locations could be permanently shut down or disregarded in their communities if they receive a bad reputation.
Californian business owners need to be on high alert for these violation fines and potential issues further down the line.