On April 17, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that started the reopening of the Texas economy. The Texas order focused on allowing “non-essential” retail businesses to once again operate. The guidelines for the loosening of the restrictions on retail in Texas are one path forward for the next phase of retail—but will they work across the country and around the world?
The governor’s order lays out the framework for retailers to again serve their customers—but in a very different way than the traditional brick-and-mortar format. The order allows “retail services that are not ‘essential services,’ but that may be provided through pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer's doorstep in strict compliance with the terms required by DSHS.” (Texas Department of State Health Services)
Texas DSHS issued additional guidance to employers, employees, and customers of these specifically “non-essential” businesses. The three options these non-essential retailers have to reopen are:
The guidance encourages retailers to limit human contact in making the payments—“should be done over the phone or internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.”
The DSHS order also lays out guidelines for employment in these retailers, including the use of screening, face coverings, and sanitation procedures.
Employees must maintain at least six feet of separation from one another.
Is Texas a model for opening up retailing around the country? If so, how should retailers prepare for this next phase?
While the Texas model does offer a possible path to reopening retail stores around the country, companies need to evaluate these new procedures and protocols to ensure their business can efficiently and effectively adopt a new and drastically different, for some, business model. While the precautions should help reduce the spread of coronavirus, what about the additional transactional costs in a post-quarantine world? Will those be passed on to the consumer? Or will they be cost-prohibitive, making businesses likely to stay shut in the short run? As this scenario plays out in real time, other states and countries will have to decide if Texas’s path forward is the right fit for them.
The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of the firm. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel. If you have any questions or require any further information regarding these or other related matters, please contact your regular Nixon Peabody LLP representative. This material may be considered advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.
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