The Consumer Brands Association (CBA) has partnered with 60 industry associations to urge the government to think about the impact curfews and restrictions could have on the manufacturing industry, and ask for special consideration during this time.
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In a March 18, 2020 letter to federal, state, and local leaders across the United States, CBA noted the importance for those in the consumer packaged goods industry to continue working, as they are responsible for many of the foods people need.
“Gathering restrictions and curfews are critical for protecting Americans and helping to flatten the curve, but the unintended consequences of those efforts could be detrimental to the production of essential goods for our fellow Americans,” wrote Geoff Freeman, CBA’s president and CEO. “Our industry is working around the clock to manufacture the products Americans need now more than ever. Our supply chain and production capabilities are strong and they will remain strong so long as we are permitted to operate at full capacity.”
The CBA feels consumer packaged good (CPG) manufacturing facilities, including suppliers and truck drivers, should be exempt from gathering restrictions and curfews related to the coronavirus.
California was one of the first to announce that it would keep plants open and allow CPG manufacturing and supply chain employees to keep working, even in the wake of the state’s stay-at-home order. “Governor Newsom and California have set an important example for states across the country to keep critical infrastructure running throughout the COVID-19 crisis,” Freeman said. “All states should follow California’s lead—if they deem a quarantine necessary—and operate according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s recommendations on critical infrastructure. California is helping Americans get the food, beverages, cleaning supplies and essential products they need in this time of national crisis.”
While the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has noted that these manufacturing facilities are part of critical infrastructure and should be exempt from the stay at home order restrictions, the states actually make the final determination. While some states have exempted CPG manufacturing facilities and truck drivers, many others have not.
“During the best of times, patchwork regulations cause significant confusion among consumers and manufacturers—during a crisis, the need for a standardized approach is even greater to ensure supply chains can move product, employees can get to work and we can manufacture the products consumers need,” Freeman said.
The CBA also commended the U.S. Department of Transportation for extending more comprehensive hours of service relief for commercial drivers in the CPG supply chain, allowing food to be delivered more rapidly and ensuring the constant flow of goods to store shelves and to the Americans that need these products now more than ever.
On a conference call held with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the two organizations established expedited processes to help ensure continued manufacturing and accurate information reaches the public. “From disinfectants to hand sanitizers and soap, our companies are doing their best to operate at full capacity,” Freeman said.