E-Newsletter

Texas Retailers Association

July 2020

In This Issue...

  1. Letter from the President
  2. Advocacy Update - COVID-19 Response, Texas Primary Results
  3. Free Resources - Coronavirus Risk Mitigation from Marsh Wortham, Southwest Financial, Lifelock, Amerex
  4. Grocery Industry Update -  WIC/SNAP & Produce Trends

Letter From the President

Hello Texas Retailers:

We are at the half-way point of a summer that has been like no other. I hope this finds you healthy, safe, and still able to serve customers in communities across our state.  As has been the case for the past four months, the COVID-19 virus continues to impact our industry and daily lives. Since our last newsletter, a month ago, the Texas economy remains mostly open. All Texas retailers can operate at a minimum of 50% occupancy, however given the significant spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas during the past month, the state’s reopening has been paused in place -- essentially where it was a month ago. However, much has happened over the past month, so be sure to study the latest developments in this newsletter.

The TRA team will continue to be a key resource for our members and industry, as well as for local, state, and federal authorities who are making critical decisions for the communities across our state during this time. We are keeping members as up to date as possible via the TRA website – www.txretailers.org and suggest you check it often for important updates, details, and resources. We believe our collective efforts have been effective throughout the pandemic and we are committed to continuing to be your trusted voice.

TRA remains in close communication with our members, so that we can be aware of your respective needs, as you continue to manage through this time and the various responsibilities retailers have to stay open. In addition to keeping the TRA website continuously updated and routinely sending informative e-blasts and disseminating key information via social media, we are also hosting our Tax & Legislative Committee calls bi-weekly starting on July 16th (they are typically monthly calls). Additionally, we have been periodically hosting Zoom meetings with invited state legislators, so they can update and interact with TRA members. We also continue to remain actively engaged with our national retail and food industry trade association partners regarding all that is happening related to COVID-19 on an industry-wide basis, as well as at the federal level.

Rest assured that TRA is as committed as ever to continuing to effectively represent Texas retailers.      As always, thank you for supporting TRA.

George Kelemen
TRA President/CEO


 Advocacy Update

COVID-19 RESPONSE

Most notably this month for retailers across the state, Governor Abbott recently extended his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19 for an additional thirty days.  Originally issued on March 13th, the Disaster Declaration grants the Governor and counties additional authority to combat the spread of COVID-19.

In response to the rising cases of COVID-19 and patients in Texas hospitals, Governor Abbott issued an Executive Order  requiring face coverings to be worn inside a commercial entity or when in an outdoor public space whenever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from someone not in your same household. A significant difference from many of the local mask ordinances we have read in the past few weeks is that under the Governor’s order a person in violation of the order can receive up to a $250 fine for each violation.  As we have also experienced in the past there is a host of counties and local jurisdictions who have either issued their own new orders or indicated they would not enforce the state’s order.

We have also had several days in July with 10K or more new cases reported per day and this has spurred a rush of rumors about new shut downs or additional health and safety measures being put in place in the coming weeks. While these measures are certainly options on the table should numbers continue to rise, we can only say they are rumors as of now and their validity depends on the impact this face mask order has on the infection and hospitalization rates in the coming weeks. TRA is monitoring this closely and will keep you up to date on any new developments.

TEXAS PRIMARY

Finally, we now have results to report from the Texas runoff elections. Four months after Texas’s Primary elections, we now know who will be on the ballot in November.  While the official tallies will not be released until mail-in votes are counted and votes are canvassed on July 23, most of these results should not change.  Click HERE for full election results.


TRAPAC



Email [email protected] or visit www.txretailers.org to make a donation to TRAPAC!

 


Free Resources from Marsh Wortham

 

Marsh has excellent resources to assist clients with response and risk mitigation surrounding these and other Pandemic outbreaks.  Marsh is providing TRA members some free resources below: 


If you want to follow up with Marsh Wortham regarding their resources, please contact David Hebert using the contact information below. The Marsh Wortham Pandemic Risk team is the best in the business!

Texas Retailers Association is still exploring opportunities to source best-in-class benefits for members, including medical, vision, dental, life insurance, and more. But WE NEED YOUR HELP

Please click here to take this five-minute survey.
If you are not the right person to fill this out, please pass the message on to human resources or operations manager to assist us with gauging interest in the program.

More Information about Marsh Wortham: 

Marsh Wortham is a division of Marsh USA Inc. the largest insurance broker in the U.S., and provides insurance placement and employee benefits, and risk management consulting services. 

  • We are comprised of offices across Texas, and in Oklahoma and Louisiana. Our parent company is Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy, and people. 
  • Marsh places more than $1 billion in premiums every year for our retail clients which comprise more than half of the top 100 retail companies in the U.S. and all of the top 10.

Contact
David J. Hebert, Vice President - Client Executive
Office 713.276.8012
Cell: 281.606.2247
[email protected]

Christina Scott, Vice President - Client Executive
Office 572.379.2698
Cell: 512.497.4626
[email protected]


 

Become a Southwest Financial Partner

Increase Value for your Employees – At No Cost to You

Partnering with Southwest Financial offers your employees access to a financial partner as a great company benefit.  Once you become a financial partner, your employees and their family members will immediately be eligible to join the credit union.

Why should your company become a Southwest Financial Partner?

Employee Financial Assistance

Southwest Financial offers free financial education tools that assist with creating sensible budgets through webinars, toolkits, and financial counselors.  This is a great way to help provide the financial freedom your employees need. 

Optimal Lending Products

Southwest Financial offers a variety of loan products to assist your employees with their lending needs, when they need it.  We get that life happens and understand credit challenges.  Whether it’s an auto loan, personal loan, mortgage or home equity loan, we are here to help your employees get on track!

Insurance Assessments

One of the great perks of being a Southwest Financial Partner is having a personal insurance representative to help save your employees money on their home and auto insurance. 

Becoming a Southwest Financial Partner is a free way to improve your corporate benefits package, employee engagement, and provide added value to your employees.  Contact Venoka Daniels today at [email protected] or 214.580.9930 to give your employees access!


 

As a member, you receive 10% off LifeLock services and you can live freely knowing that LifeLock is searching over a trillion data points every minute of every day looking for potential threats to your identity. When LifeLock finds your personal information being used, they will alert you through their patented Identity Alert System. Click here to sign up today!


 

 A TRA-endorsed service provider since 2002, Amerex is the largest OTC (wholesale) natural gas, electricity and emissions trader in North America. Their real-time involvement in the wholesale energy market and their customized service has consistently yielded significant cost savings to TRA members. Save on your gas, or electricity! Click Here to Learn More

Email: [email protected]

www.amerexenergyservices.com 


 Grocery Industry Update

 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health & Human Services Agency has responded to help Texas families through out the State.

The WIC program has extended their substitution policy thru August 30.  Supermarkets are allowed to substitute alternative product for the WIC prescribed product if the supermarket is out of stock.  

Also the number of WIC participants has increased by about 1% from last year.

Lastly Texas WIC has approved a large number of new products for 2021 including many store brands.  Click here to view the list of NEW WIC APPROVED FOODS FOR FY21.

The SNAP program has experienced a dramatic increase in both the number of customers eligiable for the Lone Star card and the total amount of benefits loaded on the card.  The Agency increased monthly benefits to the maximum for family size.  In addition, funds have been loaded onto the Lone Star card for children who were on free or reduced lunch.  This program is called P-EBT.

In June:  $461 million in benefits 17% increase over last year.  Over 3.9 customers received SNAP benefits 12% increase over last year.

The P-EBT benefits will continue this month with the total reaching almost $400 million.

TRA would like to compliment the State Agency. The EBT technology has worked well to accommodate the large increase in transactions.

Online shopping has increased due to the pandemic.  Click here for information on a study conducted by the Food Marketing Institute.

Spending patterns have also been affected by the pandemic.  Click here for the spending tracker.

For questions on Grocery Industry Issues, please contact Gary Huddleston


Fisher Phillips has assembled a cross-disciplinary taskforce of attorneys across the country to address the many employment-related issues facing employers in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The COVID-19 Taskforce has created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, which has been continually updated since first published on March 3 and will continue to be updated as events warrant. You can contact your Fisher Phillips attorney or any member of the Taskforce with specific questions, and a full listing of the Taskforce members and their practice areas is at the end of this publication.

The CDC has released relaxed guidelines for critical infrastructure workers, as previously defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19. Under the relaxed guidelines, critical infrastructure workers potentially exposed to COVID-19 may continue to work following exposure provided they remain symptom-free and employers implement additional precautions to protect the employee and the community.

For more information and legal resources please visit Fisher Phillips - Coronavirus Resource Page.


 


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