News Release

CRA President and CEO Rachel Michelin in NBC News: In California, confusion over what businesses qualify as ‘essential’

March 27, 2020, 3:25 PM PDTBy Dennis Romero

After most businesses in California were closed under a “Stay at Home” order by Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 19 to prevent the spread of coronavirus, many proprietors didn’t always know who was exempt.

So some cannabis shops, gun stores, call centers and others remain open for business as owners wonder whether they are skirting the law.

The state has the most retailers in the nation, with one in four workers based at a real or virtual storefront, according to the California Retailers Association. The shutdown impacts not only their paychecks, but those of others along the supply chain, said association president Rachel Michelin.

“It is a little bit of a challenge in terms of the essential versus the nonessential,” she said. “We’ve been seeking clarity from the governor’s office and haven’t received a response.”

… Ambiguity crossed other types of stores, as well. “You sit at a strip mall and see the Home Depot open and a Stein Mart is not,” Michelin said.

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