The top two trade groups representing major retailers such as Walmart Inc., Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. are calling on governors to adopt uniform reopening standards as the pandemic subsides, including allowing warehouses and distribution centers nationwide to reopen all at once, rather than state-by-state.

As states, cities, and companies big and small struggle over when and how to restart the economy, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Retail Federation have some ideas. On Monday, they’re sending a six-page memo to governors outlining a three-phased plan for how stores can maintain public safety once they are allowed to reopen their doors to customers. The guidelines call for stores to have “robust” health and safety protocols in place, including sanitation and social-distancing procedures.

Measures include ensuring regular handwashing, use of gloves and face masks to protect customers and employees, in addition to limiting occupancy in some cases “to no more than 5 customers per 1,000 square feet of shopping space,” or half the national fire code requirement.

The retailers recommend that stores defer to governors on timing. States have been making those decisions by evaluating whether the number of new infections is declining and whether testing is adequate to prevent upticks in new cases.

“The governors have a difficult decision ahead of them,” RILA president Brian Dodge said in an interview. “We want to demonstrate to them that when they decide to restart the economy in their states that retailers are prepared” to keep their customers safe.

The retail trade group is adding to the growing number of industry voices seeking to influence how and when the government permits normal business to resume as the coronavirus shows signs of plateauing in some regions. Businesses and policy makers have struggled to coalesce around a single strategy to save the struggling U.S. economy and minimize the spread of the disease.

President Donald Trump earlier this month unveiled a reopening plan that puts most decisions in state hands. The president recommends that states document a “downward trajectory” in cases of coronavirus and flu-like illnesses for two weeks before beginning a three-phase process to curtail lockdown and social-distancing rules.

Under RILA’s proposal, all states should allow retailers’ warehouses to open so long as they follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social-distancing, hygiene and sanitization guidelines. Many states have already adopted this policy, Dodge said, so that retailers can offer in-home delivery and curbside pickup.

The memo cites the need for “a fully functioning supply chain with all distribution centers operational,” rather than piecemeal reopenings, which could prevent goods in warehouses in locked-down states from moving to stores in states that have lifted their restrictions.

RILA said currently most distribution centers are open since federal guidelines call for treating them as essential. Some have been shut down in states where local orders conflicted with state directives or in states where warehouses didn’t house essential goods, including in Indiana, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Colorado, RILA said.

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