Retailers: Distribution centers ‘essential’ to serving communities


As states and local municipalities put out conflicting reports on what type of businesses and facilities are “essential” during the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation’s two leading retail organizations say it’s critically important that distribution centers make the list. 

"Companies are working around the clock to ensure stores are stocked with the items that families need most during this crisis,” said RILA president Brian Dodge. “Absolutely essential to that goal, is the functional operation of distribution centers around the country. As we all do our part to manage the impact of COVID-19, ensuring our supply chains are as functional as they can be is crucial and we ask that policymakers make clear that distribution centers fall into that essential category." 

In addition to directing goods to store shelves, distribution centers are vital to those now relying on e-commerce or contact-less forms of shopping to receive the items they need. 

"Regardless of the means by which shoppers receive their goods, retailers are taking extra care and precautionary measures, both in stores and in distribution centers, to protect workers as they ensure communities have access to food, cleaning supplies, essential household goods, and more," said RILA VP of supply chain Jess Dankert.

The National Retail Federation is also urging the government to deem distribution centers as “essential retail businesses,” noting the important role distribution centers and transportation logistic companies play in the retail industry. 

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