SAN MATEO, Calif. (KRON) – Governor Gavin Newsom says counties can start reopening in-store retail shopping, however, the decision is ultimately up to each counties health officer.

So far, northern counties Solano, Sonoma and Napa have already moved deeper into Phase 2-reopening and it’s likely San Mateo County will be next on the list if its health county health rules allow.

San Mateo Supervisor David Canepa expects in-store retail to begin soon, starting as early as this week or next week, as long as health and safety protocols are in place.

He says their county health officer has made decisions in line with the governor and now they’re just waiting for the official word that it’s safe for the county to move forward.

The Bay Area could return to some sort of normalcy soon, after Governor Newsom announced on Monday that counties could begin allowing in-store retail shopping.

While most Bay Area health officers haven’t announced new plans just yet, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa is hopeful.

“San Mateo County has led on these issues and this is the first return to what normalcy may look like and it’s uplifting news. Hope it’s this week, I really really do, I hope it’s this week but we’ll have to wait until the health officer comes and decides,” Canepa said. 

While everyone’s health and safety are the most important, Canepa says we also have to consider economic health.

“We always think of small businesses as just a business owner. Well they have employees. They have employees who work for them and those folks are really suffering. I hear it every day,” Canepa said. 

From small retailers to large, Rick Forster, general manager of the Serremonte Center in Daly City says everyone is taking a hit.

The shopping center holds 125 retailers and four of the national stores in the center have already filed for bankruptcy because of the pandemic.

“It’s been very very difficult. We have national tenants that are struggling,” Forster said. 

Currently, only businesses with outdoor access in the center are open for curbside pickup.

He says they’re now transitioning to safely allow the indoor retailers to participate as well.

While Forster’s optimistic about moving towards in-store shopping soon, he says more challenges lie ahead for large shopping centers.

“The mall is a collective kind of environment. There’s a lot of collective space, and I think one of the challenges that we’ve had in even prepping for an open is a mall is a place where people come to congregate and in our community in Daly City, we are the town center basically so one of our big challenges I think, and we don’t have this as much on the outside, but on the interior we’re having to consider all of the seating inside the mall, making sure social distancing is followed, that seating, much of it will go away,” Forster said. 

If and when counties move deeper into Phase 2 reopening, we can expect stores to open at smaller capacities for physical distancing.

We can also expect PPE requirements.

Latest Stories: