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NRF Demands Answers on California Mall Closures

The National Retail Federation wants answers from California on the state of the state’s malls.

On Tuesday, NRF filed a request under the California Public Records Act, seeking to understand how the state decides how and why its retailers and shopping malls should close, an ongoing point of confusion during the coronavirus pandemic.

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, NRF said.

“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 Stephanie Martz, NRF’s chief administrative officer and general counsel.

Retailers are committed to continuing to follow all federal, state and local public health guidance and recommendations, but they also need to understand how government officials arrive at decisions that ultimately impact merchants’ ability to serve customers and provide jobs in this economy, NRF said.

If successful, the California Public Records Act request will clarify how decision makers make determinations that impact workers and store operations across California. NRF said that under orders from Governor Gavin Newsom, California retailers and other businesses are restricted to opening with limited capacity, if at all, based on the county in which they operate.

“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,” Martz added.