Sacramento, CA – November 16, 2020 – California Retailers Association President Rachel Michelin issued the following statement in response to the latest round of statewide closures and tightening of restrictions within California’s tiered system known as the Blue Print for a Safer Economy. “As the association representing all aspects of retail in our state, we recognize it is imperative that we as Californians continue to follow the latest health and safety guidelines issued statewide and nationally despite growing COVID-19 fatigue and resentment. California’s retail industry’s top priority is ensuring the health, safety and well being of employees and customers. That said, the vast majority of cases, we are being told, by statewide and numerous county health officials are coming from social gatherings- not businesses being open. Yesterday’s Associated Press story quoted Solano County Public Health Officer Dr. Bela Matyas attributing the vast majority of their cases tracing back to casual gatherings. “We’ve had no clusters we can attribute to restaurants, to gyms, to retail shopping, to any of those facilities,” Matyas said. “Because they have licensure on the line, they do a good job of enforcing social distancing.” While we continue to work with the Governor’s office to get clarity on the data that justifies this latest round of restrictions, CRA urges everyone visiting retail stores during the busier holiday season to follow current CDC guidelines: wear a mask, maintain physical distance of at least six feet from others, repeatedly wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds and keep hand sanitizer with you at all times. These mandates are for everyone’s benefit. CRA has developed a number of Safe Shopping best practices that we continue to share with retailers large and small as well as consumers to protect from the spread of COVID-19. The association will soon be launching a Safe Shopping For All holiday video outlining these best practices as we also continue to collect Safe Shopping commitments from retailers, chambers of commerce and other businesses throughout the state. It is imperative that we continue to protect the health and viability of not only each other, but our economy.”

National security adviser Robert O’Brien said that Chinese telecommunications company Huawei is the “number one concern” for democracy moving forward. 

In an interview with The Hill’s editor-at-large Steve Clemons as part of the 2020 Global Security Forum that took place last week, O’Brien pointed to concerns over the use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks around the world, accusing the embattled company of being an intelligence threat due to its potential access to sensitive networks.

“If you believe in democracy and you’re concerned about our elections, that’s the number one concern that we’ve got going forward and that all the democracies have is what China could do with that Huawei backbone in our countries,” O’Brien said. “It’s really quite scary.”

O’Brien detailed concerns that Huawei, which the Trump administration has taken a series of steps to push back against, could give the Chinese government “backdoors to pull up every bit of data in the world.”

O’Brien applauded work done by the Trump administration to pressure allied countries into excluding Huawei equipment from sensitive networks, noting that he believed several nations had made this choice due to concerns around data privacy and security.