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Coronavirus Federal Update

On March 17,2020, President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued new guidelines to help protect Americans during the global Coronavirus outbreak.

The new recommendations are simple to follow and could have a resounding impact on public health. More information can be found in the attached document and the President’s and Vice President’s remarks can be found here. 

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Coronavirus WIC Update

    The Texas Health & Human Services Commission will be publishing a Vendor News Flash in the near future regarding WIC purchases during this critical time due to measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

-Suspending LEB requirements.  Retailers may sell any items in the LEB category that are on the APL and on the customers’ prescription without fear of an LEB violation (the 85% policy).

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Press Release: Macys temporarily closes stores due to Coronavirus

Macy’s, Inc. Temporarily Closes Stores Nationwide in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

NEW YORK—March 17, 2020-- In response to the widespread COVID-19 outbreak, Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE: M) today announced that it will temporarily close all stores by end of business today, March 17, 2020, through March 31, 2020. This includes all Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bluemercury, Macy’s Backstage, Bloomingdales the Outlet and Market by Macy’s stores. Macy’s, Inc. will provide benefits and compensation to its impacted workforce.
“The health and safety of our customers, colleagues and communities is our utmost priority. As a result of the recent COVID-19 developments, we have decided to temporarily close our stores. We will work with government and health officials to assess when we will reopen our stores and safely bring our colleagues back to work,” said Jeff Gennette, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s, Inc. “During this closure, we will continue to serve our customers through our e-commerce sites.”
All three Macy’s, Inc. brands – Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury – will continue to serve customers through macys.com, bloomingdales.com and bluemercury.com and through its mobile apps.

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Coronavirus Update Dashboard Resource

As the Coronavirus outbreak continues to grow, we realize a lot of questions arise particularly about the grocery industry and retail industry as the public tries to secure supplies for themselves and their families in preparation for social distancing, closures, and anything else that might arise. Due to the rapidly changing information we have developed a Coronavirus Update Dashboard resource for everyone who wants to have a go-to place for up-to-date information from each TRA member commenting and making statements on the outbreak. We have also included the social media feeds from our national partners NRF and NGA, and other resources like the CDC and The Hill to have a good overview on any statements that may affect the Texas retail industry as these events develop. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. Be sure to check out the Coronavirus Update Dashboard periodically for direct information from each source.

Governor Abbot Waives Certain State Trucking Regulations

Governor Greg Abbott has announced that he is waiving certain regulations related to commercial trucking in the state of Texas. The suspensions will expedite commercial vehicle delivery of more supplies in each truckload as Texas works to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the state.

These waivers were requested by and will be coordinated through the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and are part of the actions Governor Abbott is taking under the State of Disaster he declared yesterday.

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Coronavirus Updates

Coronavirus Update  

Last night the President addressed the nation and announced some new actions regarding the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.  This included the announcement of new travel restrictions on travel from the European Union.  Below please find the latest COVID-19 update from the White House Office of Public Liaison. 

There are a few issues we wanted to make sure to clarify for Retailers members –

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FDA New Tobacco 21 Resource Page

"This is Our Watch” launched nationally in November 2017. A full toolkit of resources is available to retailers—including posters, stickers, age verification tools, and more—to help retailers better comply with federal tobacco regulations. Click here to check out the printable materials.

TRA Advocacy Summit Registration Open

TRA’s Advocacy Summit is a great opportunity to spend a weekend networking with Texas’s most retail-friendly Members of the Texas Legislature and Members of Congress. The event will be held at the Horseshoe Bay Resort in Marble Falls, TX  on March 6-8, 2020 and feature panels with guests from various Texas agencies and the Texas Legislature.

Registration includes access to all panels, speakers, and attendees, all receptions, meals/breaks, and networking opportunities. 

2019 TRA's Year in Review

Texas Retailers Association 2019 Year in Review Video!

The USMCA is finally done. Here’s what is in it

President Trump notched his first major win on trade Tuesday after Democrats signed off on a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

So what exactly does the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (a.k.a. USMCA) change?

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Paid Sick Leave Update

Earlier today, State District Judge Sakai in San Antonio, granted our motion for temporary injunction regarding San Antonio’s “Safe and Sick Leave” Ordinance (PSL ordinance). This is great news because the ordinance was set to go into effect on Dec. 1. The Texas Retailers Association (TRA) is pleased Judge Sakai sided with the rule of law in today’s ruling.  By enjoining substantially, the same ordinance declared unconstitutional by the 3rd Court of Appeals, the Court preserves the status quo for employers during this critical time of year. 

Employers of all sizes can now focus on serving their customers instead of shouldering the burden of an unconstitutional ordinance.  Represented by Attorney Roland F. Gonzales, TRA alleges the San Antonio ordinance, not only violates The Texas Minimum Wage Act, but violates provisions of the Texas Labor Code, FLMA, and ADA. 

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The Toy Association Urges Families to Follow Important Tips for Safe Play

NEW YORK, NY | November 12, 2019 – With the holiday shopping season here, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the frenzy of buying gifts and overlook safety. But The Toy Association is urging parents, grandparents, and other gift givers to ensure their kids stay safe by following important safety tips – not just leading up to the holidays, but all year long.  

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Tobacco 21 Bills Gain Local, State and Federal Traction

 

History tells us that people have smoked tobacco for thousands of years. More than three generations ago, the public began to speculate about the health of smoking, and some fifty years ago, the Surgeon General ruled that health warnings were required on each pack of smokes. The next few decades saw the significant rise of tobacco taxes, the introduction of the minimum purchase age and the passage and implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. 

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2019 Halloween By the Numbers (NRF)

The National Retail Federation (NRF) does a yearly survey to measure consumers’ Halloween shopping behavior. They suggest that over 172 million Americans participate in the holiday and contribute to a $8.8 billion dollar industry. This unique holiday inspires some neat and quick statistics that we will explore again this year.                                     

Halloween by Numbers 2019

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Food Waste Reduction Alliance

The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) has revealed a formal agreement  with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce food loss and waste through industry and agency-specific actions.

FWRA was founded in 2011 by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association to reduce the amount of food waste generated; increase the amount of safe, nutritious food donated to those in need; and divert unavoidable food waste from landfills. According to FWRA, it's estimated that 25% to 40% of food grown, processed and transported in the United States will never be consumed.

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Popular Apples Recalled in Texas

Apples distributed to wholesalers and retailers in Texas have been recalled this season. The apples, which are from Michigan, are possibly contaminated with Listeria.

The recalled apples include McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Fuji, Jonamac and Red Delicious apples.

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New beer, wine and tobacco laws

This past legislative session, the Texas Legislature passed several laws which impact Texas retailers who sell beer and wine, as well as tobacco. These new laws went into effect Sunday, September 1st. Although we understand the Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission (TABC), as well as the Texas Comptroller’s office have communicated with our state’s retailers about these new laws and their impacts or changes, we wanted to make sure all TRA members had the most updated information. 

Below for your reference are an industry notice from TABC, which includes a detailed document reflecting all of the changes impacting TABC enacted last session, as well as this link from the Comptroller’s office regarding the new Over 21 Tobacco law. The link contains helpful information along the right hand side. However, we understand that there is still ambiguity regarding what constitutes acceptable ID’s for the military exemptions for tobacco purchases. TRA is in contact with the Comptroller’s office on this issue and we have asked them to issue clarifying guidance to retailers ASAP. Here is a link to more information about including the "Texas Retailer Tobacco Packet." We will continue to monitor this and report back as we learn more details.

TRA Membership Campaign: Win A Gift Card

TRA is engaging in a membership campaign to grow the ranks of TRA’s membership to include more sectors of the industry and have more geographic areas of the state represented within the association…AND, we are asking YOU, our members to help us. You can help by referring, identifying and/or connecting potential member companies and stores to TRA. Please look over your networks of industry contacts to see if any who are retailers in Texas would be great new TRA members. If so, let us know about them, or send them our way and we’ll take it from there.

TRA has a great story to tell and delivers solid member value, and we can think of no better way than to enlist our members in sharing what TRA is all about with potential new members. As an incentive to help your industry association grow, we are including a reward component to this fall’s membership campaign. Any current TRA member who refers a company or store which joins TRA between now and January 1st, 2020 will receive a gift card as a referral reward. See details in this newsletter. We are also revamping the TRA website to make it more user friendly for all who visit it, as well as making it more useful for TRA’s staff and members. We look forward to officially announcing the new TRA website in early November.

Implementation for new state laws underway

On the advocacy front, TRA remains engaged in the rulemaking and implementation processes for new state laws impacting retailers that were passed during the state legislative session, earlier this year. Additionally, we continue to fight for retailers against the ill-conceived local Paid Sick Leave ordinances which have popped up in several Texas cities. On the federal level we are continuing our push to have Congress ratify the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) before the end of the year, as well as to find opportunities to make the much-needed technical corrections to the 2017 Tax Reform law. For more timely advocacy updates, make plans to join TRA’s monthly Tax & Legislative Committee calls, which typically occur the second Thursday of each month at 2pm CT. These calls are a great way to keep up with all of the advocacy efforts TRA engages in on your behalf. Reach out to any member of the TRA team to be added to the distribution list for the Tax & Lege call announcements.

That said, it is now more important than ever to engage your elected officials (state and federal) with store tours and other opportunities to discuss the state and federal issues that matter most to you and your business. Making it local helps them see much more clearly the impact of their actions, or inactions. As we approach a very important election year in 2020, it’s important for all of us to work to educate them on the issues which matter most to retailers, as well as to know where they stand on our industry’s key issues. One way you and your company can help support and elect retail friendly legislators is by contributing to the Texas Retailers Association Political Action Committee (TRAPAC). You can get the latest information on TRA’s advocacy efforts, as well as information on how you or your company can contribute to TRAPAC, by visiting the TRA website here.

US and Mexico Sign Tomato Suspension Agreement

On 9/19, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Mexican tomato growers signed a new suspension agreement to prevent the dumping of tomatoes into the U.S. market. The two countries have been in a major tiff over the dumping of tomatoes, which caused the Commerce Department to pull out of the previous long-standing tomato suspension agreement. To reach last week’s agreement, the U.S. agreed to suspend the current Administration’s anti-dumping investigation on Mexican tomatoes. The new agreement terminates a 17.56 percent tariff placed on importers of Mexican tomatoes. 

Source: National Grocer's Association