The Washington Fly-in is off, but the Home Furnishings Association will step up its government relations work. The reason for both is the same – the spread of COVID-19.
HFA’s Government Relations Action Team decided during a conference call March 11 to cancel the Washington Fly-in. The event, which had been set for May 12-14, would have included meetings with members of Congress, regulatory agency officials and other capital insiders. The COVID-19 outbreak has created too many uncertainties about travel and gatherings for the Fly-in to take place as planned.
The outbreak is also creating disruptions in the economy, from Wall Street to Main Street. The administration and Congress are working on measures to help businesses through this extraordinary crisis. These measures likely will include low-cost loans from the Small Business Administration, some form of tax relief and paid family and medical leave for workers.
There will be government help
The details are important. Our Government Relations Action Team and HFA staff will monitor federal and state actions to keep members informed about new resources that become available. We will ask leaders to make sure that the furniture retail sector is not overlooked in relief packages for impacted industries. Airlines and cruise lines are not the only businesses likely to experience losses. We will oppose mandates to provide unlimited paid sick leave for workers unless the government helps to carry the cost.
In addition, we have created a page on the HFA website where you can find timely and accurate information about COVID-19, such as guidance for businesses and employers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preparing workplaces for COVID-19 from the U.S. Department of Labor, links to state health departments and HFA reports. We will update information until this crisis passes.
We would like your questions and input. Tell us what steps you’re taking to keep your business running and safeguard the health of your employees and customers. Tell us what kind of help you need from the government. Let us know what information you need and how we can help.
If this becomes a crisis, let’s work through it together. That’s what associations do.