We sincerely appreciate all of the efforts and sacrifices you have made to ensure the public has access to healthy and safe products. During this time, the Missouri WIC program has not conducted Level 3 onsite visits to retailers for the eWIC project. Point of Sale (POS) providers have continued to work with retailers on installing and upgrading equipment and software when it has been safe to do so and to work around the busy sales times for stores serving customers to ensure safety and reduce the risk of exposure to and spreading of the virus.
Due to the COVID-19 event, the Missouri WIC program will be rescheduling the eWIC rollout areas to begin July 6, 2020 and statewide completion by August 31, 2020. The Missouri WIC program and the USDA, have discussed concerns regarding the high number of COVID-19 cases in the original rollout 2 area which is in the St. Louis, MO area of the state. In order to allow this area sufficient time to decrease the number of COVID-19 cases and to decrease the possible exposure of state personnel, contractors, local agency staff, and WIC participants to the virus, we have decided to move the implementation of this area to the end of the rollout schedule.
A revised eWIC rollout map can be found HERE.
In preparation for the local agencies to begin issuing eWIC cards the week of July 6, we must begin completing Level 3 visits as soon as possible in mid-May if the Stay-At-Home order is lifted in the Kansas City area. Missouri WIC program and CDP, Inc. staff have been in contact with stakeholders about initiating Level 3 visits at the retailer locations that have eWIC functionality installed. We will be notifying retailers of the dates for the Level 3 onsite visits in the near future.
The Missouri WIC program appreciates the service that you provide to our WIC families and to your communities. We apologize for the inconvenience of rescheduling the eWIC rollout schedule; however, it is critical that all stakeholders involved in this project are safe and healthy to successfully proceed with this statewide project. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns by calling 573-751-8322 or by email at Bridgett.Henderson@health.mo.gov.
During today’s COVID-19 briefing, Governor Mike Parson announced the first phase of the “Show Me Strong Recovery” Plan outlining how Missouri will gradually begin to reopen economic and social activity on Monday, May 4, 2020.
Resting on four essential pillars, the “Show Me Strong Recovery” Plan is intended to protect those most at risk of exposure to COVID-19 while returning Missouri to a new normal:
1. Expand testing capacity and volume in the state
2. Expand reserves of PPE by opening public and private supply chains
3. Continue to monitor and, if necessary, expand hospital and health care system capacity, including isolation and alternate care facilities for those that cannot self-quarantine at home
4. Improve ability to predict potential outbreaks using Missouri's public health data
This framework will allow the state to work through a gradual reopening, leading to broader economic recovery.
During phase one of the plan, citizens may begin returning to economic and social activities but must adhere to social distancing requirements, including maintaining six feet of space between individuals in most cases. There are currently no limitations on social gatherings as long as necessary precautions are taken and six feet of distance can be maintained between individuals and/or families.
Additionally, all businesses can be open provided that the social distancing guidelines set forth in the new health order are followed. Some businesses will be required to take additional precautions to protect their employees and the public, such as occupancy limits at retail locations.
You can view the Governor's phase 1 guidelines HERE. You can also keep up with the latest information on Governor Parson's "Show Me Strong Recovery" plan HERE.
USDA FNS will be hosting a SNAP Online Q&A session for interested retailers this Friday, April 24 at 1:00 P.M. CT. Registration is not required and details for participation are located at this link. The recording from NGA's April 15 SNAP Online webinar is available for viewing HERE.
The Coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for employers that are attempting to meet OSHA regulatory obligations - such as annual training, auditing, testing, medical surveillance requirements, and the like - without creating greater risk of exposure to COVID-19 for their employees. OSHA issued a new Enforcement Memorandum acknowledging that reality. Provides enforcement relief for employers who exercise good faith in the context of this extraordinary health crisis.
Click HERE for the full article.
Should you wipe down your food and packages?
A new survey by Nielsen shows the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables has become even more important to consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. While shoppers said fresh items are still key, they've also been buying more produce in canned, bottled or frozen form, Nielsen found, noting purchases of frozen and shelf-stable products grew up to five times faster than fresh fruit year over year from Jan. 1 to April 4. You can view the full story HERE.
On Tuesday, the Senate passed an additional coronavirus relief measure that would replenish funds for the depleted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).The House is scheduled to vote on the bill this afternoon (Thursday). President Trump urged Congress to pass the measure-which would provide an additional $310 billion for PPP and require that $60 billion of the funds be used for loans originating from smaller lenders-saying he'd sign the bill and begin discussions on a next round of stimulus. It is unclear how quickly funds will be made available and what date the Small Business Administration and lenders will restart the loan application processing, but it could be as soon as Friday.
If you are interested in applying for a PPP loan, please see NGA's helpful FAQ. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the MGA Team.
On Thursday, April 16th, Governor Parson announced the extension of his statewide Stay at Home Order through May 3rd. During this period, Governor Parson and his office will continue to monitor the situation and work with Missouri’s hospitals, health care providers, public health experts, business leaders, and state departments to develop a plan.
The state’s approach to recovery will be deliberate and data-driven with two initial phases intended to protect those most at risk of exposure to COVID-19 while returning Missouri to a new normal.
The “Show Me Strong Recovery” plan will rest on four essential pillars:
1. Rapidly expand testing capacity and volume in the state, including testing for those who are currently contagious and those who have developed immunity to the virus
2. Expand reserves of PPE by opening public and private supply chains and continuing to utilize Missouri businesses in that effort
This approach combines a number of sources on data specific to Missouri, allowing state leaders to evaluate the situation locally, regionally, and statewide. Localized data includes the following:
While Governor Parson announces his plan to start reopening the State, local governments across the state have announced extensions to their stay at home orders, many of which extend further than Governor Parson's, through mid May or even later.
You can view Governor Parson's Stay at Home Order extension HERE.
If you have any questions regarding this extension or anything else we can be of assistance on, please do not hesitate to reach out to the MGA team or myself directly.
Independent grocery employees are working hard every day to ensure our families have access to food during this unprecedented emergency.
Please urge your Senators and Representatives to recognize these HEROES and give them well-deserved tax relief for their commitment to serving their communities during this pandemic. Feel free to encourage employee participation in this effort.
This proposal provides income tax relief for those working in a duty station that is part of DHS-designated critical infrastructure up to the first $8,900 per month of pay, as well as payroll tax relief for these individuals up to the first $50,000 of their income to ensure a tax benefit for workers who do not currently owe income tax.
Working each day during this emergency presents extraordinary challenges and independent grocery workers are rising to the occasion.
Please email your legislators and urge them to provide tax relief for our COVID-19 Heroes!
Please fill out this form to urge Congress to support tax relief for our HEROES!
While automatic kiosks, such as Coinstar's, have been around for close to 30 years, advances in technology are creating new opportunities for kiosks to be used more effectively in the food retail space, providing convenience for shoppers and a way for grocers to deliver targeted information and enhance loyalty. "This would include the ability to order and pay directly from the kiosk, saving customers valuable time and reducing cashier assistance and labor at the front end," said Karla Guarino of the Kiosk Group. You can read more HERE.
The Missouri Grocers Association | 315 N Ken Ave, Springfield, MO 65802 | Phone: 417-831-6667 | Fax: 417-831-3907