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Press Release

NAMA Sends Letter from CEO Carla Balakgie to the President and Congressional Leaders Regarding Convenience Services and Coronavirus

CHICAGO — March 19, 2020 — Through a letter to the President of the United States and Congressional Leaders, Carla Balakgie, NAMA’s President & CEO, urged elected officials as well as Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin to consider convenience services as an essential industry during this time of crisis.

“Our industry is uniquely situated to provide food and beverages in a ‘contactless’ manner as our nation practices safe, social distancing,” according to the letter, authored by Balakgie.

In the letter, also shared with State Governors, and elected officials, NAMA points to the industry as a main source of sustenance for those providing response during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Nurses and doctors providing aid, truck drivers making essential deliveries, and public servants working to keep our communities safe all rely on unattended retail to stay nourished. We hope our elected officials recognize the 365, 24/7 reliability of our retail channel,”the letter continued.

NAMA’s letter also asks leaders to ensure its members are included in federal financial stimulus being debated. Yesterday, the Senate passed its first round of coronavirus relief, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act; sending it to the President’s desk for signature into law.

The bill, including provisions establishing a federal emergency paid leave benefits program, requires employers to provide each employee paid sick time (up to 80 hours for full-time, and the average two-week equivalent for part-time) if impacted by the coronavirus.

Factors for the payments include:

  1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.

The bill also provides additional funding for Department of Agriculture (USDA) and for the Department of Health and Human Services for nutrition and food assistance programs including: $500m WIC for new/expecting moms; $400m USDA to buy food for local charities; $250m home deliveries for the elderly; $100m for Puerto Rico, N. Mariana Islands, American Samoa; and waives food stamp work requirements

The House and Senate are expected to consider a robust financial stimulus package throughout the rest of the week.

NAMA represents the $31 billion U.S. convenience services industry. By providing advocacy, education and research, NAMA works to promote and protect the industry’s nearly 160,000 hardworking employees. Through traditional vending and micro markets, office coffee and pantry services, product manufacturing and small-drop distribution, convenience services meets the needs of over 40 million American consumers daily at work, home, school and play.