Coronavirus Resources for Retailers

Updated information about COVID-19
Top Resources

The health and safety of customers and workers is retailers’ top priority. NRF is closely monitoring the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic, coordinating with government agencies, health experts and retailers as the situation continues to evolve.

NRF is addressing the supply chain implications as well as developments related to the spread of the virus globally and domestically. Please come back to this page for regular updates.

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    Operation Open Doors
    Guidance for retailers on reopening stores

    As retail businesses begin to open to employees and customers, Operation Open Doors will provide operational guidelines and considerations developed with input from hundreds of retail industry leaders convened by NRF. The effort prioritizes four functional areas for America’s retail sector:

    • health and safety
    • people and personnel
    • logistics and supply chain
    • litigation and liability
     

    The CARES ACT and Main Street Lending Program

    The CARES Act includes a number of provisions that NRF advocated for to benefit retailers, both directly and indirectly. 

    • A $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program providing forgivable Small Business Administration loans to retail businesses with under 500 employees, and a $500 billion program the Federal Reserve can use to provide $4.5 trillion in relief for larger retail companies.
    • An expansion of unemployment insurance for retail workers to 39 weeks instead of the usual 26; recipients will receive an extra $600 per week in addition to the standard amount in their states, payable immediately.
    • Relief for retail workers and consumers including one-time checks of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child.
    • Tax relief, including an estimated $15 billion from fixing the “retail glitch” in the 2017 tax reform law, the ability to “carry back” this year’s losses to profitable years and obtain a refund, an Employee Retention Tax Credit to encourage retail businesses to keep employees on the payroll, and expanded deduction of interest paid on retail business loans.

    The Federal Reserve developed the Main Street Lending Program to help credit flow to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the pandemic.

    On April 30, the Federal Reserve Board announced it is expanding the scope and eligibility for the Main Street Lending Program. Learn more. 

    Learn how how to navigate the Main Street Loan Program and find more resources about the CARES Act.

    Latest updates

    Friday, May 29: Earlier this month, NRF launched a "Thank You" campaign to recognize retailers, employees and customers for their collective efforts to keep our communities safe during the pandemic. The campaign features retailers going above and beyond to create a safe environment for their teams and customers, as well as consumers stepping up and shopping responsibly and considerately. Watch our first video thanking retailers, their employees and their customers.

    Thursday, May 28: Today, the House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (H.R. 6886).  The bill, sponsored by Representatives Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Dean Phillips, D-Minn., provides flexibility to the PPP by giving businesses up to 24 weeks to spend funds from the program and still have the Small Business Administration loans forgiven. It also reduces the requirement that 75 percent of the money be used on payroll to 60 percent, allowing more of the money to be spent on other expenses. NRF issued a press release earlier today in advance of the vote in support of the bill.

    NRF hosted an online seminar with the CDC Foundation, "Tools to evolve your COVID-19 retail strategy." You can watch it here.

    Tuesday, May 26:  For small business owners seeking assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program, the Small Business Administration has updated resources including:

    More information is available at Treasury.gov/CARES and SBA.gov/PaycheckProtection.

    Thursday, May 21: NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay spoke with Neela Montgomery, CEO of Crate and Barrel, as part of the NRF Retail Leadership Series. Montgomery discussed how her team is maintaining the brand's creative energy right now as well as leaning into consumer-generated content. She also advised that a healthy dose of humility and agility are essential for leaders during this unpredictable time. A recording is available here

    The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the United States Secret Service (USSS) issued a joint alert urging Americans to be on the lookout for criminal fraud related to economic impact payments under the CARES Act. This includes fraudulent activity that uses coronavirus lures to steal personal and financial information, as well as the economic impact payments themselves.

    Wednesday, May 20: NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay appeared on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" to discuss recent retail activity, accelerated innovation and a roadmap to move our industry forward.

    The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency released revised guidance on essential critical infrastructure workers during the COVID-19 response. It expands upon and clarifies several retail workforces that have been struggling with state and local restrictions.

    The CDC posted detailed guidelines for reopening businesses, schools and organizations: CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President's Plan for Opening America Up Again.

    NRF participated in a call with officials from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to share efforts retailers are taking to ensure the safety of their employees and customers as well as areas in which additional guidance would be helpful. 

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued two revised enforcement policies. Its updated enforcement plan indicates that OSHA will follow normal inspection procedures in low-risk industries and conduct on-site inspections in areas where community spread of COVID-19 has significantly decreased. OSHA also revised its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of coronavirus to require employers to record confirmed work-related cases.

    Tuesday, May 19: The Department of Treasury issued a press release noting the Department and the IRS are starting to send nearly 4 million Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) by prepaid debit card (EIP Card) instead of paper check. The EIP card can be used online, at ATMs or at any retail location where Visa is accepted.

    FEMA published a fact sheet titled "COVID-19 Pandemic: Supply Chain Expansion Line of Effort" highlighting public-private approaches to increase manufacturing production capacity of critical medical supplies. FEMA has also released state-by-state PPE data, which lists the funding and products allocated to states within FEMA regions as of May 14.

    Monday, May 18: NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay appeared on CBS News to discuss retailers' reopening plans and retail's impact on the economy.

    The CDC published the following tools to help leaders make decisions during the pandemic:

    Decision Tools for Schools and Childcare Programs:

    Decision Tools for Businesses and Workplaces:

    Decision Tool for Mass Transit

    Sunday, May 17: NRF's thank-you campaign ad appeared in the "Sustaining America" special edition of USA Today on page 89.s. 

    Press releases and more 

    NRF chief economist says 'uncertainty abounds' in predicting recovery from coronavirus pandemic – June 1

    Retailers welcome House measure giving small businesses more time to spend Paycheck Protection Program funds – May 28

    Retailers say Pandemic Risk Insurance Act would provide 'greater relience' in future outbreaks – May 26

    Retailers welcome Senate plan to expand Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility – May 21

    April retail sales drop nearly twice as much as March during coronavirus pandemic – May 15

    Imports to see double-digit annual declines even as stores begin to reopen – May 8

    NRF chief economist: Recovery likely to come in 'fits and starts' – May 6

    Retailers welcome Federal Reserve expansion of Main Street Lending Program – Apr. 30

    NRF launches Operation Open Doors – Apr. 26

    Retailers call additional funding for small business loans 'important step on the path to recovery' – Apr. 23

    Retailers urge federal pandemic insurance program similar to 9/11 terrorism coverage – Apr. 21

    NRF statement on Administration’s tariff deferral announcement – Apr. 20

    National Retail Federation’s push for government-backed loans to aid retailers (Fox News) – Apr. 17

    Retail industry leaders inform President Trump’s advisory group on reopening the U.S. economy – Apr. 15

    Retailers welcome financial 'bridge to the other side' of pandemic but ask for more aid for larger businesses – Apr. 9

    Estimated March imports hit five-year low, declines expected to continue amid pandemic – Apr. 7

    The Retail World 2020: Retailing In A Time Of Crisis, Week 01 (World Retail Congress report) – Apr. 7

    NRF chief economist: Stopping the pandemic is first step to restoring sound economy – Apr. 1

    Retailers reeling from coronavirus pandemic (MSNBC) – Apr. 1

    National Retail Federation CEO on the coronavirus impact (CNBC) – Mar. 31

    Retailers commend U.S. House for swift approval of CARES Act – Mar. 27

    Retailers welcome bipartisan CARES Act to help businesses 'get through this turbulent time' – Mar. 25

    NRF President: Retail industry needs 'bridge' to restart economy (Fox Business) – Mar. 23

    Business groups send letter to White House calling for swift and flexible economic stabilization efforts - Mar. 21

    Retailer leaders issue statement on responsible shopping during COVID-19 pandemic - Mar. 15

    Retailers step up to support COVID-19 response - Mar. 13

    Coronavirus impact on imports expected to be larger and longer than previously expected – Mar. 9

    How retail feels about the coronavirus (CNBC) - Mar. 5

    COVID-19 Resources

      Economic recovery and loan resources

      State response

      Federal Response and Resources

      White House

      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

      Department of Labor

      Department of Homeland Security

      Department of Transportation

      Tracking Store Closures

      Multiple media outlets are tracking store closures.

      Environmental Protection Agency

      Companies hiring now

      See job opportunities for displaced workers and post your company's careers link for free.

      U.S. Food and Drug Administration

      U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

      U.S. Department of State

      Workplace and employment law

      NRF

      U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

      Department of Labor

      U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

      • Tip sheet on health coverage options for employers helping their employees understand their coverage options, which also provides multiple places employees can go to receive assistance in making health insurance decisions.
      • FAQ document with Marketplace information for businesses impacted by COVID-19

      Other employment law resources