L.A. passes ordinance to reserve grocery shopping times for the elderly and disabled

Customers shop at an L.A. grocery store. The L.A. city council voted to pass an ordinance that would require grocery stores to reserve the first hour of business for the elderly and disabled.
(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)

The City of Los Angeles has passed an ordinance that will require retail food stores such as supermarkets and convenience stores to dedicate the first hour of business to the elderly, the disabled and those who care for them.

It’s a move many retailers voluntarily implemented last week in response to the increased demand brought on by the recent COVID-19 shutdowns, but the measure — which passed by a unanimous vote during a City Council meeting Friday — makes it standard across the board. It is now awaiting the mayor’s signature.

The ordinance defines any retail food store as a grocery store and convenience store that primarily sells canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and poultry.

Under the ordinance, Costco would also be required to abide by the new rule, as well as any “membership-only warehouse club” that meets the above merchandise parameters.


Stores that are less than 2,500 square feet are exempt, as are restaurants that sell market provisions. Stores that are between 2,500 and 10,000 square feet in size are required to abide by the new ordinance on at least three business days each week; it’s mandatory every day for stores larger than 10,000 square feet.

The city has designated people who are 60 and above as elderly.

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