Retailers Welcome DHS Guidance on Essential Workers

Following weeks of uncertainty in state and local orders, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today issued updated guidance on “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers”. The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Senior Executive Vice President, Public Affairs Michael Hanson issued the following statement in response:

“Policymakers and businesses, at every level and across every sector of the economy, are working diligently as they navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping communities safe and healthy is priority number one. As states and localities have acted to shutdown nonessential businesses, more clarity is needed from the federal government. 

“Retailers appreciate the updated guidance provided today by DHS. States should strongly consider deferring to these guidelines as a way of providing clarity, creating efficiencies, and eliminating disparities between a patchwork of local laws. Preemption from a mix of state and local requirements will help to ease the enormous burdens facing retailers as they focus on supporting their workforce and communities during this crisis.”

The new guidelines follow many of the recommendations made by RILA and our members earlier this week. RILA will continue to work with DHS and state governors as the situation evolves.


RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate.

RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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