The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation Tuesday to temporarily prohibit rent increases throughout the city and to require certain essential businesses to provide health protections and work schedule flexibilities to employees. 

District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer said that emergency legislation to prohibit rent increases during a pandemic “shouldn’t be necessary.”

“Most landlords would not even think about raising rents on their tenants during a time like this,” she said. Nonetheless, the legislation was triggered after the San Francisco Apartment Association published advice to its landlord members to not raise rents during the pandemic, according to District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin.

Worried that the Association’s advice might find opposition among members, Peskin said that he and his co-sponsors found it important to legislate to protect tenants.

Lorraine Petty, a member of Mission-based social justice organization Senior & Disability Action, wrote to the Board of Supervisors, pleading them to “do the right thing … the humanitarian thing.” 

The second piece of emergency legislation passed Tuesday aims to provide health and schedule protections during the pandemic to employees of grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants, and on-demand delivery services.

“I have three kids,” said Juliana Ojeda, a McDonald’s employee in the Fillmore District. “I am afraid to get sick and bring it to my family.”

Ojeda said in her email to the Board of Supervisors that the McDonald’s Fillmore location has run out of hand sanitizers multiple times and that the establishment only provided masks to its managers and “never” to its front-line workers.

“There is not a plan or reinforcement to keep social distance with customers or between” employees, Ojeda added.

Her husband works at another McDonald’s location, and she wrote that it is important they both “feel protected at work.”

There are 625 grocery stores and supermarkets throughout the city that employ 12,251 workers, according to Regina Dick-Endrizzi, the executive director of the Office of Small Business and Small Business Commission.

The legislation requires employers to provide or reimburse employees for “necessary supplies, tools, and equipment” to protect them from COVID-19.

It also requires businesses to provide guidelines on social distancing and sanitation protocols to its employees.

It further instructs store employers to allow service workers to cancel scheduled work due to sickness or COVID-related emergency reasons. The legislation also allows employees “to use any available accrued paid sick leave or emergency paid sick leave, or to reschedule” work.

Any potential violations may be reported by calling 311.

If enacted, the legislation would last until the end of the city’s Public Health Emergency or two months after its enactment, whichever comes first.

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