WASHINGTON, September 29, 2020 – Today the National Retail Federation filed a request under the California Public Records Act to release information related to restrictions placed on shopping malls and other retailers in order to bring transparency to California’s decision-making process in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“California’s retailers are making the safety and well-being of employees and customers priority number one and they deserve transparency in the reopening process,” said NRF Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Stephanie Martz. “California’s large and small business owners cannot effectively plan and prepare to serve their customers when the government can adjust the playing field weekly based on unknown sources of information. Retail is at the core of an important ecosystem and we want to work together with the state of California to assist with economic recovery, rebuild businesses on Main Street and safely get people back to work.”
Retailers are committed to continuing to follow all federal, state and local public health guidance and recommendations. However, they need to understand the basis for which government officials are making decisions that ultimately impact retailers’ ability to serve customers and provide jobs in this economy.
In March, the State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health issued an order requiring most Californians to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19. Since then retailers have adopted protocols and made significant investments to ensure the safety of both employees and customers.
Under the California Public Records Act, each state or local agency must make public records in its possession, custody or control “promptly available” to any person who submits a request that “reasonably describes an identifiable record or records” and pays any applicable fees, unless the records sought are legally exempt from the Public Records Act.
These actions serve to provide clarification of how government officials are making determinations that impact retail workers and store operations in communities across the state of California. Under orders from Governor Gavin Newsom, California retailers and other businesses are restricted to open with limited capacity, if at all, based on the county in which they operate.
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.