Today, Governor JB Pritzker‘s briefing focused on today being National Census Day and emphasizing the importance of Illinoisans completing the census even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as steps they have taken to simplify healthcare access.
EMPLOYER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
For your convenience, IRMA created this overview of various financial resources available to employers. There are many and they are varied. Bottom line: IRMA strongly encourages retailers to review these resources and submit applications ASAP. Even if you ultimately decide not to utilize the assistance, applications will be dealt with as they are received and, particularly as it relates to applications to the SBA, businesses across the nation are applying. If IRMA can be of assistance, please contact Alec Laird.
LABOR ISSUES WEBINAR
IRMA will be hosting an unemployment insurance and paid family leave webinar this Friday, April 3rd from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Scott Cruz, a highly respected labor attorney with Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, will provide participants with a detailed overview of changes made to unemployment insurance and paid family leave and all the issues surrounding them as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He will also answer some of your questions. Advanced registration is required. You can register for the webinar here.
WIC & SNAP REMINDER
An important reminder to all grocers accepting WIC: WIC customers are allowed to purchase ALL the items on their food instrument. Even if your store is limiting customers to a certain number of items, those limits cannot be applied to WIC participants. Limits CAN be applied to SNAP customers so long as those limits are applied to ALL customers.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has notified IRMA and the Illinois Department of Public Health that loose pack eggs may now be temporarily sold at retail as long as all packaging and labeling requirements are met as established in the Illinois Egg and Egg Products Act and the administrative rules promulgated thereunder.
IRMA worked with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and Illinois Department of Public Health to TEMPORARILY suspend the prohibition against allowing retailers to sell loose pack eggs.
With COVID panic shopping, food service channels have an abundance of aging egg inventory. Unfortunately to get the eggs to retailers, current regulations require the eggs to be sent to packers to put in cartons and labeled. This causes delays, loss of inventory, and increased prices. With the regulations prohibiting retailers from selling loose pack eggs temporarily lifted, this should help alleviate the problem.
IRMA would like to thank the Illinois Department of Agriculture and Director Jerry Costello II for their prompt review and response. Also, thanks to Mary Frances Trucco and the Jewel-Osco team for raising the issue.
RETAILERS & SOCIAL DISTANCING
Many public officials are looking for retailers who have not already done so to immediately implement as many measures as they can to encourage consumers to practice social distancing. Building upon the proactive work many of you have already done, IRMA created this best practice guidance. If you have not done so already, retailers, but particularly grocers and convenience stores, are strongly encouraged to implement some or all of these best practices as quickly as possible. You can also find this document and other valuable information on IRMA’s web page. Additionally, yesterday the Illinois Department of Public Health issued a similar but not identical guidance.
IRMA strongly encourages members to review and adopt any best practices they can.
What has become abundantly clear is a one-sized-fits-all approach is counter-productive. Grocers throughout Illinois are experimenting with different approaches. Their experience will help inform everyone. However, what works and doesn’t work will vary a great deal based on sales volume, size of store, flexibility of store’s layout, etc.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, MD, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 986 new cases in Illinois, including 41 more deaths. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 6,980 cases, including 141 deaths, in 56 of Illinois’ 102 counties. Additional information can be found here.