CA malls, bookstores could open soon, but required modifications could depend on 'geography, local conditions,' Newsom says

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- With just weeks to go before many businesses across the state might be able to reopen, there are questions about what that might look like.

Some businesses are already taking things into their own hands. Best Buy, for instance, announced they'll reopen 200 stores in May but with modifications. Shoppers will have to make an appointment to visit the store and once inside, a dedicated employee will shop alongside them at a social distance.

So, what can businesses expect? ABC7 News asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to elaborate on exactly what kind of businesses will be able to reopen and how they should prepare.

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Newsom said malls, clothing stores and bookstores are all included in businesses that can open during phase two, but that modifications necessary for businesses to reopen may vary.

"We will provide guidance by sector and, in some cases, by geography based upon local conditions," Newsom said.

The state has not yet released official guidelines for businesses to follow, however a round table discussion Newsom held with business owners and retail employees on Tuesday gave some insight into what might be coming.

GAP, Inc. CEO Sonia Syngal was on the call with Newsom. She said the San Francisco-based company, which has typically served 125,000 customers a day in California, is looking to their stores in China as a guide for reopening.

"We maintained nightly cleaning, social distancing of customers and employees, and mask wearing," Syngal said, "As well as some plexi barriers, etcetera at check out."

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She added their stores were also doing some temperature checks.

The general theme from businesses was that one size won't fit all and that each store has it's own needs and own challenges that will need to be adjusted and addressed.

"We had someone that was laid off from Santana Row, a retailer," Newsom explained during his press briefing Wednesday, "And she's on unemployment wondering if she'll even come back to that small retailer because the size constraints within that business, and wondering if even customers will want to be back in that business."

Newsom also recalled another business owner on the call who has five different stores in different counties.

"There's five different challenges, again based on local conditions and local directives," he said. "We're meeting in those subsets, we're getting their feedback."

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Newsom said he is working on guidelines for businesses and will make them public in the coming weeks.
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