March 18th, 2020

Coronavirus Updates

Coronavirus Updates
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The following are coronavirus updates provided by the Council and our other industry partners.

Council Updates

Coronavirus Update – March 27, 2020

We are hearing reports from members that local health departments are not enforcing the state’s March 22, 2020 “Stay at Home Order” uniformly and that some are creating requirements for businesses above and beyond the state order.


Coronavirus Update – March 22, 2020

Today, Governor DeWine directed Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton to sign a “stay at home” order for all Ohioans that is effective through April 6, 2020. You can read the details of the order by following this link.


Coronavirus Update – March 20, 2020

Here is today’s Ohio COVID-19 update:

351 confirmed cases as of today reaching 40 counties, resulting in 83 hospitalizations and three deaths. The cases range in age from one year to 91 with a median age of 51.


Coronavirus Update – March 20, 2020

Here is today’s Ohio COVID-19 update:

169 confirmed cases as of today, up from 119 yesterday, reaching 28 counties, and resulting in 39 hospitalizations and one death in Lucas County. The cases range in age from one year to 91.

Coronavirus Update – March 19, 2020

Here is today’s Ohio COVID-19 update:

119 confirmed cases as of today, up from 88 yesterday, reaching 24 counties and resulting in 33 hospitalizations.

Ohio’s application for Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans has been approved by the federal government. Small businesses in Ohio are now able to apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans from the SBA. Please click here for an informational presentation for small businesses that want to apply. We encourage you to apply directly online at


Coronavirus Update – March 18, 2020; Employee Temperatures

Governor DeWine today encouraged business owners to begin taking the temperature of employees when they arrive at work in an effort to identify anyone who is becoming ill. If this is not feasible, Governor DeWine asked that employers require workers to take their own temperatures prior to arriving at work. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher should self-quarantine with members of their household.

Coronavirus Update – March 18, 2020

Governor DeWine’s daily press conference on COVID-19, in addition to ordering the closing of most BMV locations and all barbershops, hairdressers, nail salons, day spas and tattoo parlors, the Governor strongly recommended that all employers take the temperature of each employee daily before they enter the facility and send anyone who has a fever home immediately.


Coronavirus Update – March 15, 2020

This afternoon, Governor Mike DeWine ordered all bars and restaurants to close at 9:00 pm tonight for an indefinite period of time.  The order only affects sit-down service.  Carry-out, drive-thru and delivery service may remain in operation.  This order is in response to the continued escalation of the spread of the Coronavirus known as COVID-19.


Coronavirus Update – March 12, 2020

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a press conference where he had Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, sign an Executive Order that both clarifies and expands upon the definition of “mass gatherings” as it relates to prohibited activities due to the spread of the Coronavirus.  It was made clear that such a prohibition does not include any type of retail location.  You can read the full text of the order by clicking here.


Coronavirus Update – March 11, 2020

Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, along with Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, hosted a webinar for Ohio trade association leaders to provide an update on the novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Leaders at both the state and local level are taking this rapidly developing situation very seriously and are asking us to reinforce this with our members.


Coronavirus Update – March 4, 2020

The Council committed to the Governor that should it become necessary, our members with means to assist with prevention and treatment efforts will be ready to help.


Legal Resources Courtesy of Vorys

Overview of Ohio Department of Health “Director’s Stay at Home Order” | 3/23/2020

Ohio’s “Stay Home Order” requires all persons in Ohio to stay at their place of residence except when engaged in certain defined “Essential Activities,” “Essential Governmental Functions,” or to participate in “Essential Businesses and Operations.”  Read more.

Treasury Issues New Notice on Tax Filing and Payment Deadlines, Eliminating Prior Caps | 3/23/2020

A complete summary of Treasury’s current guidance on the extension of federal income tax payment and filing deadlines is included in this Federal Tax BulletinRead more.

What to Do With Your Incentive Agreements in This Challenging COVID-19 Times | 3/23/2020

In this time of broad government actions due to a declared pandemic emergency, it is important to examine your incentive agreements to understand the potential risks your company faces if your company is unable to perform key obligations.  Read more.

I-9 Requirements Relaxed under COVID-19 Outbreak  | 3/23/2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will exercise discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9).  Read more.

Thinking About Delaying Environmental Compliance Due to COVID-19? Think Carefully! | 3/23/2020

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve day by day, we recommend carefully reviewing each of your facilities’ environmental-related permits, orders, and other compliance obligations.  Read more.

Complimentary Webinar: Vorys on Call: Coronavirus
When: Thursday, March 26, 2020 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Vorys welcomed nearly 1,000 of you to our first weekly webinar and fielded hundreds of questions on the various business and legal implications of the coronavirus. Our second, multi-disciplinary webinar is scheduled for Thursday, March 26. Vorys attorneys representing various practice areas and disciplines will come together to share their considerations as businesses navigate these turbulent times. Attorneys will briefly address a number of topics and then take questions. See the list of topics and presenters, and register for the webinar here.

Ohio Expands Access to Unemployment Benefits in COVID-19 Cases

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) released a list of questions and answers on this expanded availability. Key information for employers can be found in this Vorys Alert.


Managing Wage-Hour Issues in the Age of the Coronavirus Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued guidance on wage-hour concerns under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in light of COVID-19. Key considerations raised in that guidance are discussed in this Vorys Alert.


Managing Disability and Accommodation Issues in the Age of the Coronavirus Pandemic

The EEOC has directed that its 2009 guidance applies to COVID-19. The questions and answers in this Vorys Alert are based on that guidance and focus on the fact that COVID-19 is now a pandemic.


Managing OSHA Issues in the Age of the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently reminded all covered employers of their obligations to provide a safe and healthy workplace in light of COVID-19. Learn more about what this means in this Vorys Alert.


Vorys COVID-19 Task Force

Vorys has established a Coronavirus Task Force, which includes attorneys with deep experience in the niche disciplines that we have been and expect to continue receiving questions regarding coronavirus. Learn more and get the latest updates from the task force.


National Retail Federation Updates

Friday, March 27: 

The House of Representatives has passed the CARES Act by voice vote and President Trump has signed the bill. NRF issued this statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay after the House vote.

The Department of Labor published updated guidance that includes questions and answers addressing critical issues such as what documents employees can be required to submit to their employers to use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave; whether workers can take paid sick leave intermittently while teleworking and whether workers whose employers closed before the effective date of the FFCRA can still get paid sick leave.

NRF sent a letter to the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve to make certain relief programs are accessible to retailers of all shapes and sizes. We also sent a letter to the National Governors Association and the U.S. Conference of Mayors encouraging them to consider emergency measures to assist retailer and restaurant operators with their upcoming rent obligations.   

Thursday, March 26: 

The Senate has passed a landmark $2 trillion stimulus package intended to keep the U.S. economy afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. NRF writes about how it will bring billions to cash-strapped retailers in this blog post.

NRF’s food safety partner, Ecolab, has shared the following information on COVID-19, with particular resources for businesses in the restaurant, hospitality, and food and beverage sectors.

Wednesday, March 25: 

Early this morning the White House announced a deal with the Senate on a new $2 trillion stimulus package, or CARES Act. NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay issued statement welcoming the bipartisan legislation: “Economic stimulus legislation intended to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic will help businesses “get through this turbulent time.” Read more.

Tuesday, March 24: 

The NRF and RILA submitted a letter to the White House Coronavirus Taskforce and the Dept. of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) requesting an expansion of categories of the workforce deemed essential to our nation’s critical infrastructure. The letter outlines several recommendations based on retailer feedback received over the past several days and request that CISA create a specific  “essential retail worker” subcategory within their memorandum.

NRF launches online resource for retail employees to learn about job openings in the event their current positions have been impacted by temporary or permanent closures.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay appeared on CNN International’s First Move with Julia Chatterley and Fox Business’ Cavuto: Coast to Coast to discuss retail’s need for a bridge – not a bailout – to stay afloat.

Monday, March 23:

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay appeared on Fox Business’ Varney & Co. to discuss what retailers need in an economic stimulus package.

NRF had a call with staff at the Department of Homeland Security and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency to discuss the agency’s memo that identified and defined the workforce critical to the nation’s infrastructure and economy. NRF believes that CISA’s memo has been a helpful guide to state and local governments, but there’s more work to be done.

Sunday, March 22: 

The Senate introduced the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act — an economic stimulus bill intended to address many of the underlying risks to the national economy, consumers and businesses, and provide support for health care providers

Saturday, March 21: 

NRF was among 90 retail industry trade groups that sent a letter to the White House calling for swift and flexible economic stabilization efforts. The business groups that signed the letter agree that the paramount issue facing the industry right now is liquidity and urged policymakers to consider proposals that protect and preserve the economic health of the retail workforce and provide sufficient liquidity for small, medium and large-scale businesses to remain viable through until the end of the crisis. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published Federal Register notices that provided details for the recently announced temporary travel restrictions on both the Northern and Southern Border. The restrictions are effective for the next 30 days. The restrictions apply to non-essential travel across the borders.

Temporary Travel Restrictions Applicable to Land Ports of Entry and Ferries Service between the United States and Canada

Temporary Travel Restrictions Applicable to Land Ports of Entry and Ferries Service Between the United States and Mexico

Read NRF’s detailed daily update here.

Friday, March 20: NRF released two benchmarking surveys surrounding retailers’ COVID-19 response. 

Workplace policies surrounding COVID-19

Supply chain impact from COVID-19

New York Governor Cuomo announced that all employees of non-essential businesses are required to stay home. New Yorkers can still commute to work if they’re in an essential business. See a list of essential businesses.

Thursday, March 19

NRF sent a letter to President Trump and administration officials urging the federal government to produce national guidance for state and local governments seeking to clarify “essential retail businesses and services” for their communities. Read the letter.

NRF released updated results for a member survey about workplace policies surrounding COVID-19. Members can access the results here.

Wednesday, March 18

NRF sent a letter to the White House, Treasury Department and House and Senate leadership supporting their swift efforts in minimizing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in terms of public health and broader economic implications domestically and around the world.

NRF joined several other associations in sending a letter to congressional leaders requesting changes to the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) to allow beneficiaries to buy hot prepared foods with their SNAP benefits cards.

Tuesday, March 17

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be hosting a conference call for business leaders on March 19 at 3 pm ET to provide an update on the COVID-19 response. Dr. Nancy MessonnierDirector of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, will share guidance for the private sector, including what CDC knows at this point and what CDC is doing in response to this outbreak. Register here.

CDC EPIC will hold a special webinar for the public “Answering 20 questions about COVID-19” on March 18 at 1 pm ET to discuss the current state of the outbreak, what CDC is doing to respond to the outbreak, and how partners, organizations, and the public can help. Anyone can watch the event on the CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response Facebook Page.

NRF will host a conference call for NRF’s International Trade Advisory Committee, Strategic Supply Chain Council and Policy Council with Gene Seroka, Executive Director for the Port of Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 18 at 2 pm ET. Seroka will provide an update on the current impact of the coronavirus on operations at the port as well as the port’s response plans.

Monday, March 16:

President Trump released The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America – 15 Days to Slow the Spread.

Philadelphia announced new restrictions on business activity in certain counties, closing all but “essential commercial establishments.” The governor later updated this order to apply to the entire commonwealth. Read more.

Public health officers of seven Bay Area jurisdictions counties announced a legal order directing residents to shelter at home for three weeks.

NRF and RILA jointly sent a letter to leadership at the National Governors Association (NGA) and U.S. Conference of Mayors encouraging better communication between state and local policymakers and retailers as they make recommendations on whether to close or curtail retail business operations. 

Sunday, March 15: 

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay and RILA President Brian Dodge issued a joint statement about responsible shopping during COVID-19.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Department of Community and Economic Development encouraged all “non-essential” businesses in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties to temporarily close, including shopping malls. Read the letter.

Saturday, March 14: 

President Trump announced that the United Kingdom and Ireland will be added to the current travel restrictions that were recently announced for the European Union. The UK and Ireland restrictions will begin on Monday at midnight.

U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency declaration that suspends driver Hours of Service requirements for those who are providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19.

White House Stakeholder Conference Call scheduled for Monday, March 16 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The White House Office of Public Liaison will hold a stakeholder conference call  for industry specific updates on the coronavirus. This conference call will include updates from Senior Administration officials. If your business or organization has inquiries, recommendations, or industry specific policy inputs for the federal government, we encourage you to share with the Office of Public Liaison at OPL@who.eop.govRegister here.

CDC Stakeholder Call scheduled for Thursday, March 19 at p.m. ET. Dr. Nancy Messonnier (Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases) will share guidance for the private sector, including what CDC knows at this point and what CDC is doing in response to this outbreak. We will also have time for questions and answers.  Please email to submit questions in advance. Register Here.

Friday, March 13: 

President Trump declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency and announced partnerships with retailers to make testing more available. NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay issued this statement in response.

The Department of Homeland Security outlined a new process for Americans returning from Certain European Countries, China and Iran.

NRF posted the following new resources for retailers:

The New York Department of Health issued Interim Guidance for Large Gatherings and Public Spaces During the COVID-19 Outbreak in which it directed that any gathering with 500 or more participants be canceled or postponed. The guidance applies to restaurants but not retail stores.

Thursday, March 12: 

U.S. Department of Labor announces New Guidance on Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities during COVID-19 outbreak.

Wednesday, March 11:

President Trump announced a 30-day ban on foreign travelers from many European countries beginning Friday at midnight. Cargo from the EU is not impacted by the travel restrictions.

The State Department issued a Global Level 3 Health Advisory – Reconsider Travel which advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Read the WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19.

Tuesday, March 10: 

NRF will hold a conference call for the Health and Employee Benefits Committee on Wednesday, March 11 at 4 p.m. ET.  Council members can register here

The Department of Labor issued new guidelines and recommendations for preparing workplaces for COVID-19 along with links to more detailed information and resources.

Monday, March 9: 

NRF released results of a member survey on workplace policies surrounding COVID-19, including travel policies and personnel issues. (Members-only. Please log in to access.)

NRF’s monthly Port Tracker shows the coronavirus outbreak is expected to have a longer and larger impact on imports at major U.S. retail container ports than previously believed.

NRF SVP of Government Relations David French attended a White House meeting with representatives from a small number of business trade associations that represent hotel and lodging, travel and franchise businesses to discuss tax relief for COVID-19.

NRF will hold a conference call for the NRF Strategic Supply Chain Council at 3 p.m. ET on March 10, 2020. Council members can register here.

Retail Industry Leaders Association


ASA, RILA Address Need for Retail Workers During COVID-19

The American Staffing Association and the Retail Industry Leaders Association are joining forces to offer an innovative solution to address the immediate, acute need to fill openings for retail workers at essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies that provide critical services during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leading Retailers Support Passage of CARES Act

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) President Brian Dodge issued the following statement regarding the CARES Act, legislation crafted to provide economic relief and resources as the US faces the COVID-19 pandemic.

Distribution Centers Essential to Serving Communities

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement regarding distribution centers as policymakers around the country are making difficult decisions about which businesses and facilities are considered “essential” and “non-essential” in the interest of public health.

Food Industry Groups Launch Partnership to Ensure Sufficient Food Supply Amid COVID-19 Crisis

MAR 19, 2020Today, the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) and FMI-Food Industry Association announced an ad-hoc partnership motivated by widespread consumer needs fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Leading Retailers Step Up to Partner on COVID-19 Testing

White House announcement for plans to develop a web portal and drive-through sites for coronavirus testing in partnership with retail leaders.

Retailers Urge Local Leaders to Coordinate COVID-19 Response

RILA and NRF joint letter to state and local policymakers regarding community COVID-19 response.

RILA Cancels Retail Asset Protection Conference

In response to the continuing spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, RILA will cancel the 2020 Retail Asset Protection Conference.

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