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Food Industry Asks for Clarification Regarding Bans and Curfews

In light of COVID-19, gatherings are being limited with exemptions for certain businesses. We are asking all states to clearly exempt food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods manufacturing facilities.

CMI, along with 59 other food, beverage and consumer packaged good industry associations, sent a letter to State and Local Elected Officials requesting assistance clarifying business that are exempt from local gathering bans and curfews, etc. As of March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that gatherings be limited to 50 or fewer people, with exemptions for businesses. However, decisions to follow CDC guidance are made at the state and local level. Some states have clearly exempted food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods manufacturing facilities (e.g., those manufacturing cleaning supplies, paper goods, personal care products, etc.), while others have not. This lack of uniformity is leading to significant confusion and could further deteriorate if a level of consistency across states and municipalities is not achieved quickly.

The letter includes two immediate asks:

1. That federal and state governments act expeditiously to coordinate a unified, clear and public framework that clearly explains that food (for human and animal consumption), beverage and consumer packaged goods manufacturers are exempted from the gathering and curfew bans that are starting to take effect. Moreover, that the employees working at these facilities should be clearly exempted and encouraged to continue to work while healthy. This would include considering all food transportation as “food for emergency restocking of stores” under the Department of Transportation’s Emergency Declaration waiving Hours of Service limitations;” and,

2. If necessary, that a federal exemption from gathering bans and curfew be granted for human, animal and pet food manufacturing facilities, as well as facilities that produce essential consumer goods critical to mitigating the spread of COVID-19, so that we can ensure the continued supply of food, essential items, while also ensuring worker safety. If authority for this action is not clear under existing federal law, then we respectfully request that the Trump Administration work with Congress to achieve the exemption legislatively as soon as possible.

See attached letter for more details.

 


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