By: Steven Harris, Director, Policy Development & Regulatory Compliance, FMI 

Picture89While the country continues to take effective actions to fight the growing coronavirus pandemic, certain areas of the country are beginning to move forward with reopening their economies following the past several weeks of shelter-in-place orders and the closure of non-essential businesses. As part of the country’s critical infrastructure, the food industry is unique because most grocery stores and food producers remained open in the effort to ensure food was available as thousands of businesses were forced to close.

Last month, the White House released its Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach to help states and localities take steps to begin reopening their economies. Most states have since announced their plans to reopen their economies beyond the critical infrastructure, while others express caution over lifting restrictions too early.

As more states begin to move forward with plans to allow businesses to reopen in the coming weeks and months, the food sector must be prepared to effectively transition from crisis operations to a new “normal.” FMI’s latest guide in its series of suggested business practices provides considerations for the food industry to ensure it continues to operate smoothly as millions of Americans return to the workforce in phases and new considerations are presented to the industry’s operations. Our Considerations for Food Sector Continuity in a Reopening Economy offers considerations for helping associates and recommendations for in-store and supply chain operations within the context of a phased approach.

This is the fourth in a series of business practice documents that FMI is producing for the food industry. Previous documents included I. Best Practices and Planning for the Immediate SituationII. Short-Term Best Practices and III. Suggested Business Practices. We encourage readers to reference these other documents for additional recommendations, including supporting associates’ and customers’ health and supply chain issues.

Guidance for the Food Industry: Coronavirus Outbreak