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How Military Resale Currently Handles the Pandemic
August 4, 2021 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
Military resale has weathered the pandemic as well as could be expected, but now there is a new battleground to scale related to the delta variant, which is throwing everything topsy-turvy; we seemed to have been winning this war, but now the war has taken a new turn.
ALA is very conscious of the fact that the pandemic directly impacted the exchanges, commissaries and canteens in various ways, and military resale took extraordinary measures to ensure that they would be on the front line of this war, all the while putting safety first and protecting both workers and shoppers while continuing to do “business as usual” as much as entirely possible.
With the delta variant, the landscape may have changed, and the Biden Administration has acknowledged this with the establishment of the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force to basically oversee the establishment of safety plans to fight the coronavirus and its variants across the federal government.
As part of this plan, the president announced that all federal employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested regularly for the infectious disease and wear a mask.
The White House additionally asked the Pentagon to look into how and when they will add COVID-19 vaccinations to the list of required vaccinations for members of the military.
In addition, several states, including New York, have heightened vaccination requirements for their workers.
So where does that leave military resale in regard to mandates and enforcement of ever-changing rules related to the pandemic?
In a continuing series, ALA will present each of the military resale services and how they are continuing to fight this scourge while running their operations at the height of efficiency.
Coast Guard Exchange (CGX)
The Coast Guard Exchange (CGX) was the only military exchange to post an increase in sales during fiscal 2020 — more than 15 percent — and they have continued to prosper at this stage of the pandemic, posting a 20.4-percent sales increase in fiscal 2021 through June.
Regarding measures that the exchange service plans to take with the delta variant now becoming prevalent, CGX Marketing Director Scott Poteet said that the exchange service “won’t speculate — we will follow the direction from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCG.”
Among the newest directives, Poteet said that effective July 28, DHS requires masks worn at all facilities, “and CGX has complied.
“If there is additional guidance or changes from the DHS, including vaccination guidance, we will follow it.”
With shoppers becoming more aware of the potential dangers of the delta variant, Poteet noted that Samantha Bishop, the CGX’s chief merchandising officer (CMO), said she has noticed recent increased sales of products used for protection from COVID-19 in CGX stores.
“Bishop explained that CGX had a significant decrease in sales of masks and sanitizers beginning in April — a drop of 90 percent versus last year — and that trend continued throughout the summer, as vaccines were rolled out and mask guidance was relaxed,” Poteet said.
However, during the last week of July, Poteet said that Bishop noticed, “With implementation of the new DHS guidelines requiring the use of masks, we had a sales increase of 168 percent.”
Poteet added that CGX “is still fully stocked” on all personal protective equipment (PPE), “and will continue to monitor to determine if additional stock is needed.”
Edited by Larry Lapka