As you are well aware, as of yesterday, Sunday, March 29, President Donald Trump announced the extension of the social distancing guidelines to April 30. Up to this point in time, we have seen many changes in state and local ordinances affecting the way we operate our day to day business.
While we are still learning more about some of the major policy changes, we will continue to keep you updated on any new information. With the President’s extension through April 30, we anticipate we are currently living a new normal and now is the time to adapt to these changes for the foreseeable future.
Our ask to you is to please let us know how the Missouri Grocers Association can continue to be of assistance through this new normal. Keep us updated on any changes you are making in your stores to adapt to this new normal for employees and consumers alike. If you have any questions or thoughts, please do not hesitate to contact me or the MGA team.
Missouri Grocers Association
Expanded coronavirus leave benefits begin next week.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act takes effect on April 1. Is your business ready?
The new federal law makes important changes to leave policies. These changes are aimed at helping workers who are sick or need to stay home for childcare reasons during the coronavirus threat.
The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. *Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this Act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
Business leaders need to quickly become familiar with the provisions of the law, as it could grant up to 12 additional weeks of paid leave to impacted employees. This includes many employers that are typically exempt from FMLA. The good news for employers is that the law requires the federal government to pay businesses for salary expenses incurred while employees are on paid leave.
Learn more using these resources from the Federal Department of Labor.
We understand that these are very difficult times and the constant changes in regulations can be complicated to understand. If you have any questions regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
*Certain provisions may not apply to certain employers with fewer than 50 employees. See Department FFCRA regulations (expected April 2020).
A Message from MGA's State Director:
"MGA is working closely with Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt to ensure the protection of our retailers against any frivolous claims. To view the Attorney General's press release regarding price gouging click HERE
Also as of this morning MODOT has made changes to the Emergency Response blankets for the weight increase on transportation carrying items to stores. Moving forward you no longer need to have a permit issued for each truck. Companies simply need to print our the declaration signed by MODOT Director Patrick McKenna, and place a copy in each vehicle. If you have completed the permit process, then you do not need to include the declaration in that vehicle.
Click HERE to view and print the declaration.
Please keep us updated on your stores and communities and do not hesitate to let us know how we can be of further assistance."
In March 24th's press briefing, Governor Parson assured Missourian's that the state's food supply remains strong and emphasized the important role of the food and agriculture industry in Missouri's COVID-19 response efforts.
"Missouri's food supply is as strong as the men and women who drive our trucks and tractors," Governor Parson said. "Farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses are critical pieces of our society at all times, especially right now. I want every worker and employer involved in the food industry to know that your work has never been more important."
Agriculture plays a vital role in taking care of citizens' most basic needs during a public health emergency, and the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) has been working closely with its partners to maintain the state's strong food supply chain.
To read the Governor's entire press briefing click HERE
We have received a form letter regrading Critical Employee travel authorization. This letter can be customized for your store and will allow your employees to travel to and from work while a Stay At Home order is in place. They just need to print it out and keep it in their vehicle.
Critical Industry Employee Authorization to Travel
If you would like to receive a Word version of this letter, so you can customize it, email email@example.com
Want to order a Plexiglass sneeze guard kit to provide more COVID-19 protection in your store? Order details provided by AWG.
Click Here to Print
**Update from State Director Dan Shaul**
Governor Parson, following moves by other states and Missouri cities, has mandated bars and restaurants to stop serving customers in-house, allowing only drive-thru, carry-out or delivery. This new order took effect yesterday, Monday, March 23rd and as of now will remain in effect until April 6th.
In addition to the changes in the restaurant’s operations, Governor Parson signed an executive order yesterday allowing for the sale of unprepared foods by restaurants. We have been in contact with the Governor’s office regarding this executive order and have determined that under this order, grocery stores are allowed to sell food intended for the restaurant industry. You can see the Governor’s executive order HERE.
Please keep us updated on your stores and communities and do not hesitate to let us know how we can be of further assistance.
Missouri Grocers Association
Several retailers have inquired about installing Plexiglass shields at the check-out lanes in their stores, like Dierberg's and Hy-Vee's (see pictures below).
Here's some DIY information from our friends at Nebraska Grocery Industry Association.
Angela Barry and her husband installed their own Plexiglass shields in A Street Market in Lincoln, NE. The Plexiglass they used is 1/4" thick and 4'x27" wide. They used heavy duty, double-sided Velcro capable of holding 15 lbs to hold it in place. The total cost was under $100. The final result is the last pictured below.
A Street Market
Dierbergs Markets is working swiftly to help our customers and Associates create distance from one another in an effort to deliberately increase the physical space between people. Starting today, Dierbergs shoppers will begin noticing a difference at checkout lanes as they begin to install plexiglass partitions at the registers. The partitions are an added safety measure to go "above and beyond" the protocols of which Dierbergs Associates are already operating under. The installation will be complete early this week. They also put out this PSA that reminds shoppers to practice social distancing and keep 2 carts between you and everyone else, as much as possible. To view some pictures of their plexiglass visit their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Dierbergs/
While we will continue to post general updates about COVID-19 to this page, we are also posting more member-specific information on our Priority Issues page. To view updates on that page, you will need to be a member of MGA and be logged. Click Here to read the Priority Issues page now.
The Missouri Grocers Association | 315 N Ken Ave, Springfield, MO 65802 | Phone: 417-831-6667 | Fax: 417-831-3907