Guidance and Directives
March 19, 2020: Customer Management Plans
As the industry adapts to what is, at least in the near term, a new normal, two essential questions need answering. Do you have a customer management plan? Have you shared this plan with your local law enforcement agencies?
A customer management plan can mean different things to different businesses at different times, but currently should take into consideration your methods for managing access for vulnerable populations and how to protect your customers and employees during these tense times.
Across social media a groundswell of support has grown around special shopping hours for vulnerable community members. You may choose or have already chosen to implement them. This is being viewed today as a socially responsible and sensitive thing to do by the broader public and many elected officials.
It has been widely publicized that Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked Californians who are 65 or older or medically at-risk to stay home. Nevertheless, this direction is not law. Instead, the Governor hopes to ask these groups to change their behavior, relying on delivery or assistance from healthier individuals to facilitate their food needs. There are significant questions concerning how to enforce and execute these special shopping hours.
At the same time, CGA is tracking local governments, such as Lynwood, Calif., that are now legally requiring “Senior Shopping Hours.”
What’s our advice? Follow the law and make the best decision possible for your community, its vulnerable populations and your business. We will update you with any changes as we learn more from the Governor’s office.
The second prong of your customer management plan should be developing open lines of communication with your local law enforcement officials. On your behalf, CGA has reached out to the California Police Chiefs Association and other local law enforcement groups to share our industry’s concerns around store safety.
We’ve heard anecdotally, that law enforcement has begun the process of reaching out to local grocery stores. But if you have not yet heard from them, please reach out directly.
When speaking with law enforcement leaders, we recommend you ask to be a part of their local emergency action plans. You can also ask to be categorized as a vulnerable location, which will secure you highly-visible patrols and priority response if a dangerous scenario arises.
As we continue to reiterate to elected officials and law enforcement, we are all in this together. Keeping communities secure, calm, civic-minded, and well-fed is of the upmost importance.
Have a question about customer management plans? Email Kelly Ash, VP, Government Affairs.
March 18, 2020: Newsom Takes Action on Commercial Driving
Through the hard work of CGA and its members, Gov. Gavin Newsom was pressed into taking direct action that eases restrictions on commercial drivers.
This action by the Governor, signed into law via executive order, will ensure key commodities can be delivered to California retail establishments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration took similar action, by issuing its own emergency waiver.
It should also be noted Newsom’s executive order suspends existing law for employers directly impacted by coronavirus and directs the Labor and Workforce Development agency to provide guidance to impacted employees.
March 17, 2020: Governor Issues Restaurant and Social-Distancing Directives
Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued directives for statewide social distancing. These new guidelines focus on securing California’s most at-risk groups, altering how restaurants and other social venues operate, and moving the homeless to temporary shelter locations.
In particular, the Governor is advising the home isolation of all Californians 65 or older and those who suffer from chronic conditions. All bars, nightclubs, brewpubs and wineries are to be closed statewide. Restaurants are expected to focus on delivery and pick-up orders to ensure appropriate social distancing between customers.
We expect directives by the Governor to change and be adjusted as the situation progresses. Timely updates to statewide directives are available here.
In-store Dinning Restrictions
Statewide directives and local government orders ask for dining within grocery stores to be treated similar to restaurants. This means a focus on take-out and delivery of orders with no in-store dinning or similar gathering. It is expected this mandate will impact all of California over the next few days.
Events and Accommodations for Customers Over 65 or with Health
Conditions Some retailers across the country and in California are attempting to hold special events for customers over 65 or with existing health conditions. An example is early shopping hours limited to these populations. Grocery stores are highly discouraged from holding these types of events.
While the service to these populations is vital, events of this type directly disregard federal, state and local mandates for these individuals to shelter in-place. In fact, events of this type would not only put these populations at greater risk for contracting the virus, but could be considered an illegal act by the company.
We do encourage grocers to offer other accommodations such as home-delivery or similar access to food and goods which do not encourage vulnerable populations to leave their homes.
March 15, 2020: Governor Issues Restaurant and Social-Distancing Directives
On Sunday afternoon, March 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued new directives for statewide social distancing. These new guidelines focus on securing California’s most at-risk groups, altering how restaurants and other social venues operate, and moving the homeless to temporary shelter locations.
In particular, the Governor is advising the home isolation of all Californians who are 65 or older and those who suffer from chronic conditions. All bars, nightclubs, brewpubs and wineries are to be closed statewide. Restaurants are expected to focus on deliver and pick-up orders as their occupancy should now be half of what was previously allowed to construct appropriate distances between patrons.
CDPH Releases Guidance on Gatherings
The California Department of Public Health has announced policy guidance regarding gatherings in an effort to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19.
In summary, the CDPH policy guidance is as follows:
- Large gatherings with 250 people or larger should be postponed or canceled.
- Small gatherings that do not allow distancing of six feet per person should be postponed or canceled.
- Gatherings of individuals at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people.
Gov. Newsom Declares State of Emergency
California’s governor has declared a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19.
State of Emergency declarations have become common in response to wildfires, extreme weather, earthquakes, and other similar scenarios. For reference, California had five declarations of a State of Emergency in 2019.
The declaration allows the state government several opportunities to make response and recovery funding available, enable mutual aid between local, state and federal governments, and more efficiently direct state resources.