Retailers both large and small are struggling as they respond to executive orders around the nation for social distancing while working diligently to keep both their customers and employees safe. The National Retail Federation has estimated that the nation’s retailers could see a 20% reduction in retail sales over the next three months that could place 1.7 million retail jobs in jeopardy.
Early this week Washington Retail co-signed a letter to the President on behalf of over 90 associations and the members they serve. The letter applauded the administration and Congress for taking swift action to address health and safety issues while seeking to address the economic impacts.
The $2 trillion emergency relief package, the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, would help stabilize the coronavirus-battered economy. The stimulus package is moving through Congress and last evening the Senate unanimously passed its final version. Lawmakers in the House are expected to consider the plan on Friday of this week.
If passed, the new law would provide loans and other disbursements across our economy, including direct payments to some Americans and loans to large and small companies. The bill would also greatly expand unemployment insurance to include covering freelance workers and sole proprietors, would refill state confers and extend much-needed resources to health-care providers.
The stimulus includes $350 billion in loans to small businesses to keep employees paid while staying home and to minimize exposure as economic activity dramatically slows. The corporate aid portion also includes $17 billion for assistance to companies deemed to be crucial for national security.
Although the package will certainly provide relief, the road ahead for retailers and the more than 400,000 retail employees in Washington State will certainly be steep and windy.