From CEO Bill Hallan: We know you’re frustrated

Dear members,

We know you’re frustrated that retail is not fully open. We are too.  And while this letter can’t really alleviate your worry about when you’ll be able to reopen, we wanted to let you know that we hear you. We’ve seen your pain expressed on social media. We’ve listened to your concerns as you called our team for help.  We’ve felt your anxiety when we answered your emails.  The pulse of our membership indicates that retail is holding its collective breath. The goal of this letter is simple: to update you on what we’ve done and what we are doing to get retailers back to work, with the hope that we can all exhale and plan for tomorrow.

MRA has been advocating tirelessly on your behalf, asking the Governor to trust that retailers will follow the necessary safety measures to reopen safely. We know not everyone wants to or is ready to open their doors right away, but many of you do and we believe you should have that option.

While things moved in the right direction on April 24 by allowing retail-to-go via curbside pick-up or delivery, we had hoped the next reopening wave would include opening retail doors to limited numbers of customers. It didn’t and like many of you, we’re extremely disappointed.

But we have hope. While the Stay Home Order was extended to May 28, as we’ve seen with previous orders, they are often amended and modified before that deadline is reached. The MI Safe Start plan announced last week puts reopening retail in the fourth wave and we’re in the third wave right now. I’ll be sending another letter to Gov. Whitmer this week encouraging her to allow stores to reopen before the end of the month with limited capacity. That’s what many of our neighboring states are doing and it makes sense.

While we may disagree with the administration’s decision to allow other industries to open when retail doors are still closed, our number one goal is to work with the administration to get retailers back to work and customers back in your stores as quickly as possible. On April 21, we provided the Governor with a plan identifying how retailers can implement safety measures to get back to business while also protecting employees and shoppers. Now that the administration has authorized curbside and delivery, it’s time to move to the next phase.

Until retail gets the green light it needs, take this time to prepare your store and business to reopen when the time does come. Work on obtaining face coverings for your employees, create social distancing signage and markers for your stores, develop a health screening system to keep sick employees home, and prepare to implement regular cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Retailers should also create a COVID-19 emergency plan so you’re prepared in the event an employee or customer comes in while sick.

Retailers are resilient; they have previously shown their ability to adapt to economic instability and new methods of shopping, and they will do so again. Remember that we’re here for you, to help you come through this challenge and see a brighter tomorrow.


Bill Hallan