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 – May 21, 2020
    Beginning today, the Thursday, May 14 Director’s Dine Safe Ohio Order permits on-site indoor dining at restaurants and bars as long as […]
  • Coronavirus Update – May 15, 2020
    COVID-19 Lawsuits on the Horizon Now that the majority of Ohio’s economy has reopened or is getting ready to reopen, […]
  • Coronavirus Update – May 8, 2020
    Last week, Governor DeWine announced the “Stay Safe Ohio Order,” the first phase of reopening Ohio businesses. The order permits: Elective […]

Legal Resources Courtesy of Vorys

National Retail Federation Updates

Friday, May 8

Imports to see double-digit annual declines even as stores begin to reopenImports at major U.S. retail container ports are expected to see double-digit year-over-year declines this spring and summer as the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue, according to the Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.


Wednesday, May 6

NRF chief economist: Recovery likely to come in ‘fits and starts’

With some stores starting to reopen as governors lift stay-at-home orders across the country, economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is likely to come gradually and may vary by location, according to NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.


Sunday, May 3:

Seyfarth LLP has updated the Summary of Federal, State, and Local Governmental Developments Pertaining to Loan Forbearance and Lease Enforcement in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The latest updates are highlighted in the current version.


Friday, May 1: 

This week, NRF launched a grassroots campaign called “Liquidity: The Single Biggest Issue Facing Retail” to urge Congress to help retailers access liquidity by modifying the net operating loss provision in the CARES Act. This will allow struggling retailers to cash out their 2020 operating losses sooner so they can stay in business until customers can safely return to stores. We encourage all retailers to contact Congress now on this critical issue and share NRF’s action link with your networks.

U.S. Department of Labor issues safety alert for restaurant, food and beverage businesses providing curbside pickup and takeout service. View more.


Thursday, April 30

Earlier today, the Federal Reserve Board announced that it would be expanding the scope and eligibility for the Main Street Lending Program. This is the result of the significant feedback that the Fed received from businesses and individuals, including comments from NRF. NRF issued a press release welcoming the expansion of the program. Additional information can be viewed on the Fed’s press release.

The CDC will hold a private-sector conference call on Monday, May 4, at 4 p.m. ET. to provide an update on what CDC knows and what CDC is doing in response to this outbreak. Dr. Megin Nichols, CDC’s COVID-19 Food Systems Workgroup Lead, will provide a broad overview of CDC’s guidance and resources for the food industry. You can register for the call here.


Monday, April 27: 

CDC will host its weekly private-sector conference call at 4 p.m. ET. Register for the call here

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and NRF released a Blueprint for Shopping Safe outlining a phased-in approach to reopening retail. The plan urges governors to issue uniform, statewide protocols for retailers to adopt as they reopen stores and work to keep employees and customers safe.


Sunday, April 26: 

NRF has launched Operation Open Doors with a new online solution center. As retail businesses open to employees and customers, this effort will provide operational guidelines and considerations developed with input from hundreds of retail industry leaders convened by NRF. The Operation prioritizes four functional areas for America’s retail sector: health and safety; people and personnel; logistics and supply chain; and litigation and liability. Read a letter announcing the program to the President, key administration officials and elected leaders.

Seyfarth has updated its state tracker for Federal, State, and Local Governmental Developments Pertaining to Loan Forbearance and Lease Enforcement in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Friday, April 24: 

Trump signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which will provide an additional $300 billion for Small Business Administration loans. SBA released new guidance on accessing the PPP in an updated FAQ, as well as a list of lenders participating by state. NRF issued a statement of support reinforcing how critical these additional funds are. 

For the latest international perspective on the impact of COVID-19, the World Retail Congress released the second issue of “The Retail World 2020: Retailing In A Time Of Crisis.”


Tuesday, April 21: 

NRF called on Congress to pass legislation establishing a federal program that would help businesses obtain insurance coverage for pandemics modeled on a program for terrorism insurance established following 9/11.


Monday, April 20: 

NRF issued a statement welcoming the Trump Administration’s announcement to delay the collection of import duties amid COVID-19 pandemic.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay participated in a webinar with global retail industry leaders about the impact of COVID-19. The webinar was hosted by the Trust for Retailers & Retail Associates of India (TRAIN); a recording is available here.

CDC hosted a private-sector stakeholder call with an update on the COVID-19 response. A recording will be available on CDC’s website.


Friday, April 17: 

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay appeared on Fox News to discuss the impact of coronavirus on retail and the need for additional funds to support business owners. Watch here.


Thursday, April 16

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) small business relief fund ran out of money today. The $350 billion program exhausted its funding capacity in just two weeks and the Small Business Administration is no longer accepting new loan applications. Congress continues to negotiate how to replenish the funds but an imminent deal isn’t expected. NRF is urging retailers to tell Congress to help small businesses that continue to face unprecedented hardships because of COVID-19 and appropriate additional funds to the PPP now

NRF submitted the attached letter to the Federal Reserve and the department of the U.S. Treasury requesting an expansion of the eligibility criteria, longer loan duration, and higher loan limits for the Main Street Lending Program and the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility (“PMCCF”)—the two programs in which NRF members have expressed the most interest in. In the letter we make several recommendations based on retailer feedback received over the past several days.


Wednesday, April 15: 

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay participated in a call this morning on the initiation of the Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups on behalf of the retail industry. See NRF’s statement here.


Tuesday, April 14: 

NRF launched a grassroots campaign on the “3 Ways Congress Can Help Retail Now” to share the next wave of retail’s priorities with Congress to provide relief to retailers and our workforces. These priorities include:

  1. Increase funding to loan and financial assistance programs that help retailers of all sizes retain employees and remain solvent.
  2. Extend the Payment Protection Program (PPP) so it covers the worst months of the economic slowdown.
  3. Allow businesses with closed locations to use loans for rents and utilities.

Please contact Congress today and share these priorities with your lawmakers and share NRF’s action link with your networks.


Monday, April 13: 

CDC hosted a private-sector stakeholder call with an update on the COVID-19 response. 

An increasing number of state and local authorities are requiring retailers to enforce orders for customers to wear face masks or other PPE. NRF sent a memo to State Retail Associations with talking points to address this issue with state and local authorities. Our main ask is that governments consider posting law enforcement outside essential retailers to enforce local orders. 

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. 

Retail Industry Leaders Association

Safety, Confidence, Creativity Key to Restoring Paychecks – May 21, 2020

Today the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation that restores confidence, rebuilds the U.S. economy, and helps over two million retail employees get back to work.


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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