In advance of a May 12 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining liability during the COVID-19 pandemic, NATSO joined many associations representing industries deemed essential critical infrastructure by DHS in submitting a statement for the record requesting that Congress act to protect the businesses that have taken necessary precautions to protect their employees and customers while serving the country during the crisis.
Truckstops and travel plazas were among those businesses deemed essential by the Department of Homeland Security. On March 16, the Administration updated its guidance on the COVID-19 emergency and said, “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.”
The industries represented on the letter responded to that call and despite some of the most challenging business conditions in the nation’s history, stayed open to serve their customers over the past several weeks. Truckstops and travel plazas and other essential businesses implemented unprecedented virus mitigation protocols such as enhanced cleaning and sanitation practices and social distancing measures to protect their employees, customers and others from exposure. Additionally, employers are working to comply with local, state and federal guidance for workplace safety. These businesses should not be penalized simply for remaining open.
“Given the historic efforts of Congress and the Administration to save businesses large and small as well as American jobs with trillions of dollars in investments, it would be devastating to have these same employers facing a threat to their survival through unjust lawsuits,” the associations wrote. “This is a historic crisis and our businesses have responded in historic ways.”
Among the nearly 40 signatories were the National Association of Convenience Stores, Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, National Franchisee Association, American Beverage Association, International FoodService Distributors Association and the American Trucking Associations.
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