News Release


CRA President and CEO in The Desert Sun: Some Coachella Valley businesses are allowed to reopen, but it involves more than unlocking the doors

Melissa Daniels and Risa Johnson, Palm Springs Desert Sun

Published 8:44 a.m. PT May 23, 2020 | Updated 10:37 p.m. PT May 23, 2020

… Rachel Michelin, the president and CEO of the California Retailers Association, said reopening will look different depending on the retailer. But those that have been closed can look to essential stores for guidance, Michelin said.

“We have some really good best practices,” she said. “Social distancing, hand sanitizer, signage when people come in limiting the number of people in stores (and) changing the floor plan to encourage social distancing.”

Shoppers can also expect to see more contactless transactions, while employees at stores may have to get used to temperature checks. Some stores may operate by appointment only, a throwback to the way shopping used to be, Michelin said.

Clothing stores still may have people try on clothing, but they might opt to “quarantine” the clothing for a couple days before putting it back on the floor, Michelin said.

Some retailers may invest in bandanas or masks to give to customers who don’t have one. But that will be a little more challenging if you’re an independent retailer,” Michelin said. “You may not have the capital to go out and buy a bunch of masks, or get them.”

Obtaining masks or other personal protective equipment has been a challenge for some retailers. In Palm Springs, PS Resorts and the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to order masks to help the city’s retailers on their way to reopening, Mayor Geoff Kors said during this week’s City Council meeting.

And the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau has launched a “Safer Together. Greater Together” pledge program that has so far has netted more than 50 signatures from local businesses who promise to institute core safety practices like disinfecting protocols and employee training.

Michelin said while there’s still a question about whether consumers head back to stores or continue to utilize online ordering, there are people who prefer in-person shopping.  

“If you like to shop, you like to shop,” Michelin said.

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