County Supervisor Urges Governor to Open Retail Businesses

May 21, 2020

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is urging Governor Newsom to allow retail businesses statewide to reopen under the same health protocols that “essential” retail businesses have been allowed to operate under.

Under the State of California’s stay at home order, “non-essential” retailers are closed and have only recently been allowed to open for curbside pick-up only. Meanwhile, “essential” retailers like Target, Walmart, and Costco have been allowed to stay open for in-store shopping with safety protocols in place because they sell groceries and other essential items in addition to non-essential products.

“What seemed to be a necessary measure at the early onset of this crisis has unintentionally created winners and losers in this ‘pandemic economy,’ with large retail businesses able to operate, while small retail businesses are struggling and limited to curbside pickup,” said Supervisor Hahn. “This needs to change.”

In a letter to Governor Newsom, Supervisor Hahn urged that these restrictions be adjusted to the smaller retail shops that are losing business everyday to big box stores. She has proposed updating the State’s public health order to immediately allow all retailers to open with:
• Limited capacity
• Face covering or mask requirement for employees and customers
• Physical distancing

“If these measures are working to keep essential retail businesses like Target, Home Depot, and Costco open and safe, they can certainly be applied to all retailers,” continued Hahn.

See full letter from Supervisor Janice Hahn to Governor Gavin Newsom below:

The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor
State of California
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom:

Thank you for your leadership during this unprecedented crisis. I have no doubt that it is because of your hard work, your reliance on the guidance of health experts, and your love of and concern for this state’s residents that we have been able to flatten the curve and save lives.

We are now in the process of reopening, balancing the economic needs of our state’s businesses with the stark reality that the virus is still with us and that we do not have a vaccine or reliable treatment. You have put forward a thoughtful, data-driven plan to reopen our state and I hope that LA County can work with you to reopen our economy as quickly and as safely as possible.

I think there is an important step we can safely take now to shore up a huge sector of our economy and that is allowing retail statewide to reopen with health and safety protocols in place.

Retailers across my district that have been deemed “non-essential” have been baffled that they have only been permitted to reopen for curbside pickup while “essential” businesses like Target and Walmart have been fully operational with in-store shopping. Many of these small businesses are not set up for online orders and curbside pickup has not been a good fit for them. They want to reopen for in-store shopping in a way that protects the health of their employees and customers, and I have heard from nearly all of the 27 cities that I represent about ways to support them in doing this.

I am proposing that you amend the state’s health order to allow all retailers to open with these important guidelines:
• Limited capacity
• Mask requirement for employees and customers
• Physical distancing

If these measures are working to keep essential retail businesses open and safe like Target, Home Depot, and Costco, they can certainly be applied to all retailers.

Thank you again for your stewardship of our great State through these extraordinary times.

Sincerely,

JANICE HAHN
Supervisor, Fourth District
County of Los Angeles