Safe Passage; Small Business Webinar; PPE; Contracting with DoD; and Blue Star Families

Safe passage package for companies in lock-down or quarantine areas, small business webinar, personal protective equipment, contracting with DoD for pandemic items

By Steve Rossetti, ALA Director of Government Affairs

Safe passage package for companies in lock-down or quarantine areas

Several ALA companies have reported difficulty operating in quarantine areas or lock-down areas.

ALA is on a DoD working group that is dealing with issues faced by industry conducting business across the United States and particularly in and around U.S. military installations.

During these working group sessions, we raised the issue of workers having difficulty transiting these areas.  We obtained this guidance issued today by the Department of Defense Small Business Office that provides:

  • A template that can serve as a memo to inform local authorities of the special responsibility to maintain normal work operation.
  • Safe Passage letter
  • A memo that we previously issued, Defense Industrial Base Essential Critical Workforce Infrastructure
  • A memo regarding staffing and work schedules necessary to meet contract requirements and obligations for contracting officials.

Small business webinar today at 3:00 p.m. EDT

The Department of Defense Office of Small Business will be hosting a webinar for companies doing business during the pandemic and discuss resources available to Defense companies to cope with the pandemic.

Here’s the participation information

Participant Instructions

The conference begins at 3:00 PM Eastern Time on April 08, 2020; you may join the conference 10 minutes prior.

Option #1 (preferred): Join the conference on your computer.

Option #2: Dial into the conference: 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633; Access Code:0533737#

International Dial In Numbers are available.

When you access the entry link above, you will be provided a choice – to install the WebEx plug-in for your preferred browser or to join the web conference using a temporary path. Either option is acceptable.  For assistance with your audio, please dial 888-796-6118.  For assistance with your WebEx, please dial 888-793-6118.

Personal protective equipment or PPE

ALA has been working with and raising concerns with government officials regarding the need for personal protective equipment.  ALA has been releasing information to members since mid-February.  Our message is: During the pandemic, the military resale supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link and measures need to be taken to ensure the entire chain—from source to shelf—is safe, secure and responsive.

The PPE  issue has been given prominence in recent days prompted by CDC guidance urging wearing of masks and Defense guidance on masks.  There also has been guidance from resale agencies to their workforce.  ALA is publishing this guidance as we get it.

We are working with DoD and the resale agencies on gaining consistency in the application of PPE across the system both for industry and government workers in order to achieve some form of consistency in the supply chain and at resale locations.  Just in the past week, there have been several instances of exchanges and commissaries closing because of the pandemic.

Grocery and retail stores are increasingly taking measures on PPE and sanitizing stores as  incidences rise on workers getting infected.   Albertsons Companies has partnered with the United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW) union in a national drive to get grocery workers classified as emergency first responders during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under the effort, Albertsons and UFCW said Tuesday they aim to obtain a temporary designation of “extended first responders” or “emergency personnel” for supermarket associates. That classification will enable those grocery workers to be prioritized for testing and personal protection equipment as the country continues to battle the spread of COVID-19.

Resale distributors and manufacturers are taking extraordinary efforts to sanitize facilities and protect their workforce from the virus.  We are examining gaps in the PPE area and working on consistency in application of PPE in various resale supply chain sectors to protect the supply chain and get guidance to the right officials to protect workers and patrons and keep stores from closing.

Contracting with DoD for pandemic items 

The Department of Defense has issued guidance for companies that wish to contract with DoD for items related to the pandemic.

Stay up to date on all pandemic resale developments on Twitter @resalereaction.

Blue Star Families issues  pandemic “Pain Points” poll results

Only 28 percent of military families say their finances have not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new figures in Blue Star Families’ Pain Points Poll. Thirty-seven percent of military spouses reported having lost their jobs or having their hours reduced, and 28% of veterans responding to the poll have reported the same.

For organizations dedicated to providing direct assistance to military families, “a worldwide pandemic is kind of like a very bad hurricane writ large,” said John Hopper, CEO of the Air Force Aid Society.  Hopper joined other relief organization leaders and financial services professionals on Tuesday’s CMSI town hall.

Cari Thomas, the CEO of Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA), said her organization is using lessons it learned when Coast Guard members went without paychecks during the partial government shutdown at the beginning of last year.  CGMA is “prepared for the long haul” as military families realize their needs and is even ready to help with funeral costs if necessary, she said. Army Emergency Relief has already supported three funerals, according to its director, Ray Mason.

The panelists urged service members to be open about what they need and to consider all their financial options.  “So many of our military families are going to be using their credit cards to bridge this gap,” said Steve Lepper, president of the Association of Military Banks of America. “Bear in mind that unless you pay off your debt in the billing period, you’re going to have to pay some substantial interest payments. Don’t dig yourself into a hole you can’t get out of.”

Almost three in 10 Pain Points Poll respondents have or plan to use credit cards to help cover expenses during reduced income, according to the latest results.

 

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