The Natural Products Association (NPA) called on the government to allow health-food stores selling nutritional supplements to remain open during the response to COVID-19, arguing that these businesses provide a range of essential products like water, electrolytes, nutritional supplements, healthy food options, and other health-related products such as hand sanitizer.
In recent days, states and territories have begun to order the closure of most businesses for an indefinite period except for supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants offering carryout or delivery, medical equipment stores, gas stations, and banks.
NPA recently launched a grassroots campaign urging lawmakers to keep health food stores open as state, local, and national governments respond to COVID-19.
“It is imperative that essential businesses such as health-food stores that provide nutritional supplements and other health and wellness products remain open for business,” said Daniel Fabricant, PhD, president and CEO of NPA. “Local businesses are an essential resource for Americans in times like these, especially people at risk, who need access to neighborhood stores. Communities need these stores open and we are asking lawmakers to lift any order as it relates to health food stores.”
NPA’s campaign can be viewed here.
Additionally, on March 18, NPA asked the governors of all 50 states in the U.S. to deem health food stores selling nutritional supplements essential businesses, and allow small businesses to request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
"Many of the men and women who make up the natural products industry are the neighborhood small businesses that are vital to all local economies," Fabricant said. "Natural products retailers are essential to the health of local economies and millions of Americans across the country. It is critical for these small businesses to stay open and receive the assistance necessary to make it through this public health crisis."
"The situation is changing rapidly, and we are here to help the industry and the millions of consumers who rely on these products," Fabricant continued.
NPA is engaging with lawmakers, reporters, and others in the industry, including through its new website which will distrubute COVID-19 information.
Additionally, NPA urged in a letter to the FDA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that the agencies take actions against companies selling nutritional supplements claiming to "treat or prevent any infection by the coronavirus."