Retail Trade Groups Support Coronavirus Emergency Declaration


Leading retailer trade groups came out in support of President Donald Trump’s decision Friday to declare a national emergency as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

Proposed action includes collaborating with leading retailers to establish drive-up COVID-19 testing sites.

“With increasing uncertainty regarding COVID-19 in the U.S., shoppers seek to reestablish control of their environment – and our grocery supply chain is working to support that desire for stability through its adaptability, flexibility and resilience,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based FMI – The Food Industry Association.

“Our industry has proven itself time after time in periods of emergency, as evidenced by its strength and confidence in the ability to meet the needs of the communities it serves, no matter the circumstance,” Sarasin continued. “This fortitude is due to our strong public-private partnerships with government agencies to ensure our supply chain remains both nimble and effective.”

Likewise, Brian Dodge, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), voiced his support for the White House announcement of plans to develop a web portal and drive-through sites for coronavirus testing in partnership with retailers.

“Leading retailers are doing everything they can to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. This includes stepping up during this global health crisis to assist with drive-through COVID-19 testing sites on their store properties,” Dodge said. “Utilizing parking lots and partnering with the government to expedite testing is paramount right now as everyone works to ensure public health and safety. This is an unprecedented situation that demands an all hands-on deck approach, and community retailers are eager to do their part.”

The grocery supply chain will be tested as the crisis progresses, Sarasin said. “Built-in efficiencies, strong trading partner relationships, nimble technology and service relationships, and genuine concern for our customers will be manifested in the resilience of this supply chain,” she said.

A presidential declaration makes additional money available for dealing with the crisis and activates the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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