COVID Today: Hero Pay In L.A., Double Masking, And California Variant

Hey, remember what happened when Long Beach, California passed a hero pay for grocery store workers law? That’s right, lots of stores announced their immediate closure. How’s this going to work in a whole county?

Los Angeles County passes ordinance requiring $5 ‘hero pay’ for grocery workers

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to adopt an urgency ordinance requiring national grocery and drug retail employers in unincorporated areas of the county to pay frontline workers an additional $5 per hour hazard or “hero pay” for the next 120 days.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger voted against the measure, to take effect at midnight Feb. 26, citing unintended consequences and a concern that the ordinance only covers a “small sliver” of the essential workforce.

Supervisors Hilda Solis and Holly Mitchell co-authored the motion calling for the temporary “urgency” ordinance that would apply to union and non-union store chains that are publicly traded or have at least 300 employees nationwide and more than 10 employees per store.

Solis pointed to store profits as one justification, though she referenced an analysis that includes retailers like Amazon and Home Depot, rather than just grocers and drug retailers. However, some of the national grocers listed, like Kroger and Albertson’s, enjoyed even higher profits, according to the Brookings Institution study.

Gross profit is not net profit, and lots of people where binge purchasing. It’s very easy to tell Other People what to pay their employees (while at the same time wanting to spend taxpayer money to hook up the teacher’s unions, right?), and perhaps their hearts are in the right place, but, that’s a heck of a lot of cost increase

“I have concerns about the unintended consequences that will result from this board directing salaries in the private sector. Stores can pass on additional labor costs to the public through price increases. However, they may also reduce the hours of the impacted workers or decrease the number of employees that they hire,” Barger said.

You can bet they’ll eliminate OT, reduce hours, and not fill job openings during that 6 months. Provided they do not close. This applies to the non-incorporated areas of Los Angeles county, so, it wouldn’t apply to the actual cities.

“Extra pay mandates will have severe unintended consequences on not only grocers, but on their workers and their customers,” CGA President and CEO Ron Fong said Tuesday. “A $5/hour extra pay mandate amounts to a 28% increase in labor costs. That’s huge. Grocers will not be able to absorb those costs and negative repercussions are unavoidable.”

We’ll have to see what happens.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: Wear Two Masks Until June

On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraged New Yorkers to wear two masks at least until June.

De Blasio urged citizens in the Big Apple to add a second mask to their personal protective equipment arsenal in a morning press conference. “Through June, keep doing exactly what you are doing,” he said. “Not just wear a mask, wear two.” De Blasio further obscured the timeline for the practice, admitting the local government may “continue that guidance for quite a while depending on what is going on.”

Will Bill make it mandatory? It sure seems rather threatening: “wear 2 masks or we’ll keep the lockdowns going”. But, hey, this is the type of government New Yorkers voted for, so, they get what they wanted.

California’s coronavirus strain looks increasingly dangerous: ‘The devil is already here’

A coronavirus variant that probably emerged in May and surged to become the dominant strain in California not only spreads more readily than its predecessors but also evades antibodies generated by COVID-19 vaccines or prior infection and is associated with severe illness and death, researchers said.

In a study that helps explain the state’s dramatic holiday surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths — and portends further trouble ahead — scientists at UC San Francisco said the cluster of mutations that characterizes the homegrown strain should mark it as a “variant of concern” on par with those from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

More reason to keep Big Government controlling us, eh? BTW, doesn’t it seem rather strange that COVID19 mutates so darned easily and fast? It’s almost like it was, dare I say, developed.

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