The Mathis Brothers in Indio has officially reopened as an 'essential business.' The company originally closed in accordance with the county order in March. On Monday, it finally opened its doors back up to customers but with a few changes.
"We’re obviously down quite a bit of business. People are afraid to leave their home and we’re hoping that through the process that we’re doing, people will be less afraid to leave their home and come into our stores," Mathis Brothers Senior Manager in Indio, Audrey Rodriguez said.
The furniture store has since implemented new health guidelines.
"There’s a screening for employees and the customers. This happens outside the store before they’re allowed inside the store," Rodriguez said.
The screening consists of three questions related to COVID-19:
Have you experienced a fever above 100.4° F in the last 72 hours? Have you experienced a persistent cough in the last 72 hours? Have you experienced any trouble breathing or shortness of breath in the last 72 hours?
"Then we take a temperature which cannot be higher than 100.4° F degrees, so that if it’s all 'no’s' to the questions and 'no’s' to the temperature, then we do a different wristband, a different color for everyday saying that they have been screened and then they are allowed into our store," Rodriguez said.
Among other procedures, managers say the store has also provided customers with materials to use in case they want to sit and test out furniture.
"It’s manufactured and sealed in our factory and when they come in our stores we’ll hand those out and they can open them up and use them to separate themselves from the merchandise," Mathis Brothers General Manager, David Burrage said.
The company said it has sought legal counsel for its California stores.
"We’re open under the transportation services and commercial facility sector and we provide mattresses, adjustable bases-- we provide lift chairs and home offices for customers who are at home having to do all their businesses at home," Rodriguez said.
Although managers believe the company is essential, a Riverside County Spokesperson said that it is not essential. The spokesperson said while it can function online, its store showroom should not be open.
According to page 11 of the state's essential worker definition, one portion read:
Commercial retail stores, that supply essential sectors, including convenience stores, pet supply stores, auto supplies and repair, hardware and home improvement, and home appliance retailers.
As of Monday, the county and the city attorney for Indio were figuring out what was next.