NPA urges governors of all 50 states to declare health food store essential

January 15, 2021
Sebastian Krawiec

The Natural Products Association has sent a letter to governors from all 50 states urging them to declare health food stores essential.

The Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, D.C.) has sent a letter to governors from all 50 states urging them to declare health food stores essential. This would ensure that millions of Americans continue to have access to dietary supplements to support their health, and ensure access to vaccines for those working at natural health stores as front-line workers.

“There is uncertainty right now created by individual interpretations on whether health and nutrition stores have been deemed essential retail establishments,” said Daniel Fabricant, president and CEO of NPA, in his letter. “For the millions of people who rely on stores that retail dietary supplements this uncertainty is troubling and could cause such stores to close unnecessarily, and not allow their front-line workers to have access to vaccination per schedule 1C of the COVID-19 vaccination disbursement.”

Dietary supplement manufacturers are referred to as essential in the latest CISA guidance (version 4.0), says Fabricant in his letter, therefore it would be consistent with existing policy to classify health food stores as essential, and therefore the whole supply chain would have access to vaccination.

“I believe that this issue could be simply resolved if the interpretation on retail storefronts by all local jurisdictions was coordinated with the federal guidelines thus putting all health and nutrition stores on par with grocery and drug stores as essential businesses,” explains Fabricant in his letter. “The majority of states (47) deemed all health and nutrition stores on par with grocery and drug stores as essential businesses during the spring of 2020, thus the vaccination scheduling of these essential workers would also be consistent with precedent.”