In a letter to the National Governors Association, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has laid out the insights mined by the retail industry since the association's April introduction, with the National Retail Federation, of the Blueprint for Shopping Safe, chief among which is the need for consistent safety measures in the age of the coronavirus.
“The goal of the retail industry since the outset of this pandemic has been to homogenize policy to the greatest extent possible, to move away from conflicting state and local orders, away from designations like essential/nonessential, and towards a set of leading recommendations by which all retailers could operate safely,” wrote Brian Dodge, president of Washington, D.C.-based RILA, in the July 6 letter, which was addressed to National Governors Association Chair Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., governor of Maryland, and Vice Chair Andrew M. Cuomo, governor of New York.
Dodge went on to highlight retailers’ investment in protocols, sanitization and personal protective equipment; urge the continued issuance of “concise, statewide orders that create clarity for all businesses, local government and law enforcement”; call on the governor of every state to require customers to wear masks when inside a retail store or other enclosed public space; and strongly recommend against requiring store employees to act as the primary enforcers of mask mandates, due to the “hostility and violence” encountered in some cases by front-line workers when requesting that customers wear face coverings.
“Basic safety precautions like social distancing and mask wearing – when properly enforced and not politicized – are important tools,” he wrote. “When combined with the investment retailers are making in sanitization and safety, we are confident that retailers can remain open and safely serve the public throughout this crisis.”