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US retailers call for national policy on ‘essential’ services

The National Retail Federation called for a policy on what constitutes "essential" services, saying confusion over that and other social distancing measures has contributed to panic buying - Joseph Prezioso / ©AFP
The National Retail Federation called for a policy on what constitutes "essential" services, saying confusion over that and other social distancing measures has contributed to panic buying - Joseph Prezioso / ©AFP

(AFP)

US retailers urged the White House Thursday to set a national policy on what constitutes “essential” services, saying confusion over that and other social distancing measures has contributed to panic.

“There remains a need for clear national guidance,” the National Retail Federation wrote in letter to President Donald Trump that said some localities have barred retailers from distribution centers, shuttered pet food stores and closed highway rest stops used by truckers.

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“When state and local governments give blanket orders to ‘close non-essential retail’ and ‘limit mass gatherings to 50 people,’ it causes panic and alarm. Consumers then swarm retailers, which exhausts existing supplies and overwhelms employees,” the letter said. 

The NRF asked for the Trump administration to clarify that the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control limiting gathering to 50 people should not apply to large format grocery stores and big-box stores.

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