Coronavirus Resources for Retailers

Updated information about COVID-19
Top Resources

The health and safety of customers and workers is retailers’ top priority. NRF is closely monitoring the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic, coordinating with government agencies, health experts and retailers as the situation continues to evolve.

NRF is addressing the supply chain implications as well as developments related to the spread of the virus globally and domestically. Please come back to this page for regular updates.

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    The CARES ACT 

    The CARES Act includes a number of provisions that NRF advocated for to benefit retailers, both directly and indirectly:

    • A $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program providing forgivable Small Business Administration loans to retail businesses with under 500 employees, and a $500 billion program the Federal Reserve can use to provide $4.5 trillion in relief for larger retail companies.
    • An expansion of unemployment insurance for retail workers to 39 weeks instead of the usual 26; recipients will receive an extra $600 per week in addition to the standard amount in their states, payable immediately.
    • Relief for retail workers and consumers including one-time checks of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child.
    • Tax relief, including an estimated $15 billion from fixing the “retail glitch” in the 2017 tax reform law, the ability to “carry back” this year’s losses to profitable years and obtain a refund, an Employee Retention Tax Credit to encourage retail businesses to keep employees on the payroll, and expanded deduction of interest paid on retail business loans.

    Read our full summary.

    The CARES Act Webinar
    NRF’s policy experts hosted a webinar to discuss key takeaways from the CARES Act and the provisions that offer the most economic relief to retailers, our associates and consumers during this difficult time.
    Latest updates

    Thursday, April 8: NRF sent a letter to Congressional leadership with recommendations that members of NRF have identified as being necessary improvements to the CARES Act. See the letter and recommendations. 

    OSHA issued its “COVID-19 Guidance for Retail Workers.” The one-page guidance highlights a number of workplace safety measures, including:

    • Routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and equipment with Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus
    • Using a drive-through window or offering curbside pick-up
    • Recommending that workers wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus
    • Practicing sensible social distancing, which could include opening only every other cash register, temporarily moving workstations to create more distance and installing plexiglass partitions between workstations.   

    Seyfarth Shaw LLP has prepared a COVID 19 Commercial Mortgage, Eviction, and Foreclosure Tracker for NRF. The chart tracks executive orders, rulemakings, and legislation at all levels of government throughout the United States as they pertain to relief for commercial mortgagors, suspensions of commercial and residential evictions, and mandatory commercial rent abatement. We thought this would be helpful to your efforts to manage your real estate portfolio during the current crisis.

    Wednesday, April 7: OSHA has issued a new poster listing steps all workplaces can take to reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus. The poster highlights 10 infection prevention measures every employer can implement to protect workers' safety and health during the coronavirus pandemic. The new poster is available for download in English and Spanish.

    NRF's chain restaurant division, NCCR, is leading a coalition effort to seek an expansion of the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) so that participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can temporarily use their benefits at restaurants. We sent this coalition letter to USDA Sec. Perdue requesting several administrative actions to provide flexibility in application of the Restaurant Meals Program and to provide administrative guidance on how restaurants can accept SNAP EBT payments with their point of sale systems.

    NRF also joined NACS, NATSO, NRA and other associations in a letter to members of Congress asking for passage of legislation allowing participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to use their benefits to purchase hot foods at food retailers such as grocery and convenience stores in order to provide them with greater food access during the pandemic.

    FEMA will be issuing a temporary rule to restrict exports of PPE products, so that these materials may not be exported from the U.S. without explicit approval by FEMA. According to the Federal Register notice which will be published this week, the rule is necessary and appropriate to promote the national defense with respect to the covered materials because the domestic need for them exceeds the supply.

    Monday, April 6: Yesterday, NRF hosted the Small Business Administration Loans Webinar where policy experts from Steptoe & Johnson LLP provided key updates and answered questions about new SBA loan programs to help small retailers through the COVID-19 crisis. In these unprecedented times, we are making this members-only product available to all retailers. View here.

    Today, the CDC will be hosting a private-sector stakeholder conference call at 4 p.m. ET. You can register for the call here. On the call, CDC will share guidance for the private sector, including what CDC knows at this point and what CDC is doing in response to this outbreak. There will also be time for questions and answers. More details here

    NRF hosted a retail members-only call last week in partnership with The Chertoff Group discussing business and operational resiliency through the COVID-19 crisis. NRF Retail Members can access the recording by logging in to NRF On Demand.

    Friday, April 3: Last night, the Department of Labor released its first round of guidance for the implementation of the unemployment provisions contained in the third COVID stimulus bill, the CARES Act. The letter primarily summarizes the Department’s views of the provisions and their sequencing with other UI provisions under federal and state laws. Differing eligibility requirements between the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and other unemployment programs will be addressed in future guidance.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted updated guidance for cleaning and disinfecting your facility.

    NRF sent letters to the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Securities Exchange Commission describing the complexities of current guidelines on accounting for rent concessions, explaining the administrative burden entailed, and asked for relief from modification accounting amid the COVID-19 crisis.

    Thursday, April 2: NRF and RILA sent a letter to every Governor outlining several recommendations from retailers to continue to create preemptive standards for “essential businesses” and work with retailers to utilize methods to safely serve customers during the pandemic. 

    Wednesday, April 1: The Small Business Administration has launched a website to provide resources and guidance for small businesses on how to apply for loans under the CARES Act, Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources. NRF has received a summary of the program from Steptoe, available here.

    The IRS has issued a set of Frequently Asked Questions to provide guidance on the recently enacted employee retention credit under the CARES Act.

    If you or your organization are interested in helping the effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, such as donating or creating medical supplies, FEMA has established a website to address questions.

    NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay was interviewed by Stephanie Ruhle on MSNBC to talk about the current state of retail.

    Tuesday, March 31: NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay appeared on CNBC's Closing Bell to talk about what the CARES Act means for retailers.

    NRF and nearly 400 CEOs of small, medium and large-sized companies sent a letter to President Trump applauding the Administration’s efforts to meet the enormous liquidity challenges created by the economic fallout from the coronavirus. We also expressed support for a proposal currently being considered that would provide a deferral of duty payments for a limited amount of time.

    NRF hosted a webinar with our policy experts who provided key takeaways from the CARES Act and the provisions that offer the most economic relief to retailers, associates and consumers. A recording of the webinar is available to watch here or above.

    Senator David Purdue (R-Ga.) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with a specific appeal to provide relief for the workers and businesses within the U.S. retail industry. Senator Purdue noted, “It is our responsibility to help stabilize and ameliorate the damage that we have imposed on our private sector in combating the coronavirus.”

    Saturday, March 28: The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an update to its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. The updated guidance includes many of the suggestions that NRF provided to CISA in a joint letter last week. Many state governments are using the CISA memorandum as guidance for their executive orders and local ordinances to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Please refer to the updated CISA memo for a listing of updates.

    Friday, March 27: 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.   


    COVID-19 Resources

      Economic recovery and loan resources

      State response

      Federal Response and Resources

      White House

      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

      Department of Labor

      Tracking Store Closures

      Multiple media outlets are tracking store closures.

      Department of Homeland Security

      Department of Transportation

      Environmental Protection Agency

      Companies hiring now

      See job opportunities for displaced workers and post your company's careers link for free.

      U.S. Food and Drug Administration

      U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

      U.S. Department of State

      Workplace and employment law


      U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

      Department of Labor

      Other employment law resources