Washington, D.C.—The Natural Products Association (NPA) announced on March 20 that, based on guidance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as President Donald Trump’s declaration that workers in critical infrastructure have a “special responsibility” to continue working, NPA members would remain open at the discretion of business operators in order to provide essential services during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
NPA tweeted out the guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which stated: “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”
NPA said businesses that would stay open include “thousands of health food stores in Pennsylvania, California, and Miami-Dade, FL, whose elected officials have balked at this declaration.”
“We have a responsibility to stay open and provide essential services, and that is exactly what we are going to do,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., President and CEO of NPA. “Health-food stores that provide nutritional supplements and other health and wellness products will remain open at the discretion of business owners. Local businesses are an essential resource for Americans in times like these, especially people at risk, who need access to neighborhood stores. Communities need these stores open and we are asking lawmakers to lift any order as it relates to health food stores.”
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In the press release, NPA highlighted sections of the DHS guidance that are relevant to health food stores and the nutritional supplement supply chain, including:
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
- Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverage products
- Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging
- Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers
- Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education
- Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids
- Workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for medical supply chains, transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities, the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, and the defense industrial base.