Access Letters Identify C-Store Employees as Essential

Retailers craft letters for staff in case police stop them going to and from work.

March 26, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—NACS has created a template letter for retailers to give convenience-store employees recognizing them as essential if they are stopped by law enforcement officers when traveling to and from their jobs. Many U.S. employers are crafting these letters to identify critical-business-need employees as states and localities enact stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Convenience stores, gas stations and trucks stops are counted among the U.S. businesses designated as essential by the Department of Homeland Security in guidance issued last week.

Convenience retailers such as GetGo, Pilot Flying J and Speedway are already providing their employees with access letters to show they are essential employees and can travel freely.

The NACS template letter opens with language that states: The individual in possession of this letter is an employee at a business deemed essential by the United States Government. Therefore, this individual must be allowed to engage in activities necessary to their job, including travel to and from work, regardless of the time of day.

For employees of suppliers and distributors delivering fuel and other critical supplies, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) issued letters that truck drivers can carry with them in order to ensure they can do their jobs to receive and deliver fuel and other critical supplies:

The Convenience Distribution Association also has provided critical infrastructure certification letter templates for drivers (PDF) and for employees (PDF).

Target and McDonald’s are among the public-facing businesses who have issued letters to team members in states affected by government stay-at-home orders, Business Insider reports.

Ohio Lt. Gov. John Husted said yesterday that businesses in his state should create a document for employees to indicate that they are essential, Cinncinnati.com reports. Ohio’s stay-at-home order took effect Tuesday and is slated to last at least until April 6. At least 16 other states have issued similar stay-at-home directives.

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.

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