April 17, 2020



In This Issue...

  1. Letter from President
  2. Federal Paid Sick Time & Leave Requirements
  3. Week 6 Covid-19 Impact Survey
  4. Essential vs. Non Essential Services
  5. RAM Announces MA Retail Relief Facebook Page
  6. Restaurant Providing Meals to First Responders
  7. Two New Relief Programs Aimed At Small Business 
  8. NBC10 Boston Hosting Live Stream on Digital Marketing
  9. RAM Member Benefit Program Communication
  10. NRF Offers Online  Skills Training
  11. RAMHIC


President's Letter

Dear RAM Members:

Today is day 39 of the Emergency Order.  Closures will certainly continue until May 4, making that 55 days, and could be further extended to at least May 15, which will be a staggering, economically disastrous 66 days.  Within our 4000 members, the unparalleled crisis has impacted those “essential sellers” dealing with customer and employee safety concerns, supply chains and unequal government enforcement rules from community to community.  Contrast their challenges to our “non-essential sellers,” many of which are 100% closed, and having to deal with no sales, yet continued payment demands from vendors, landlords, and creditors.  

Indeed, government orders have created economic winners and losers in this crisis through determinations on who could serve their customers and who couldn’t.  And ironically the important Paycheck Protection Program also created winners and losers, ranging from early applicants who received funds before the initial roll out ran out of money; to those which will see the program as a grant vs. those facing a loan, all depending on their continued payroll in this crisis.  Lost on many public policy leaders is the fact that when government forces your small business to be closed and your doors locked, you may not have the payroll needed to make the PPP forgivable.    

Click here to continue reading.

Federal Paid Sick Time & Leave Requirements

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) recently passed by Congress requires certain employers to provide new sick time benefits and newly created Public Health Emergency Leave to employees affected by the current health crisis. RAM members should be aware of their new obligations under the law as well as how the law intersects with the existing Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law requirements.  The following information is intended to help you understand your available options for protecting your workforce during the ongoing pandemic and safeguard your business against liability.  

Members are strongly encouraged to visit the Department of Labor’s website to find FAQ’s, an Employer Fact Sheet, and the law’s Required Employee Notice Poster.

Click here to continue reading.



Essential vs. Non-essential Services

Since the COVID-19 outbreak first prompted Governor Charlie Baker to issue a declaration of a State of Emergency on March 10, 2020, the impacts to the state’s economy and on the retail industry have been swift and severe.  RAM members have since largely fallen into three categories:

  • Essential and open, selling essential goods/services
  • Essential and open, but with access restrictions (i.e., takeout & delivery only)
  • Non-essential and closed

The Governor’s Essential Services Order, the related list of “COVID-19 Essential Services”, and the COVID-19 Essential Services FAQs, have been interpreted and reinterpreted by many, while continuing to evolve.  The state has updated the FAQs frequently to attempt to provide additional guidance and to answer questions that have arisen, with the most recent version of the FAQs dated April 14th.  All members with questions as to their status are encouraged to review the order and related guidance and to check back frequently on the FAQs.

Click here to continue reading.


Week 6 - Covid-19

Please take a minute to answer this quick survey to update us how you are doing during this 6th week of the Covid-19 crisis in MA.  The information you provide helps us as we to communicate with public policy leaders, opinion leaders and the press. 

it is important that we hear from you.  Click here to access survey.

RAM Facebook Page for MA Retail Relief:

With so many businesses struggling and with retail sales down by historic levels, RAM wants to help.  We have created a Facebook page that you can check that includes ways to help small businesses around the Commonwealth.  This is also a place where we can highlight efforts of small business who are finding ways to use their business to help those in need. 

We encourage all members to visit, “like,” follow and share this page.  If you have information you would like us to include on this page, please email Andi Shea at [email protected].



AG Healey Launches Resource Site for First Responders & Relief Programs Aimed at Small Business

 MA Attorney General Maura Healey has launched a new website that is a one-stop shop for health care workers and first responders looking for information and resources.  The site includes a regional listing of restaurants offering discounted food and drink deals as a thank you to first responders and health care workers.  RAM encourages our restaurant members to visit the site and consider joining the effort.  The restaurant listing is available here.  The site also has a link at the bottom of the page for those who want to be added.

The AG also announced two new initiatives aimed at providing relief to small businesses impacted by COVID.  The Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program will provide a total of $500,000 in funding to municipalities and regional planning agencies to be distributed to small businesses in the communities they serve. The COVID Relief Coalition is a partnership between the AG’s office and a coalition of law firms, nonprofits, and government agencies to provide vulnerable businesses and mission-driven organizations with pro bono legal support.  Coalition partners have created a new website that will enable small businesses to learn about and apply for emergency loans and other sources of relief. 

 Click here for more details on both.    

NBC10 Boston Hosting Live Stream on Digital Marketing

NBC10 Boston Facebook Live Stream to answer biz digital marketing questions. 

Tuesday, April 21 at 2:00 pm.  Click here to participate.


 Member Benefit Program Update

During these challenging times it can be unnerving to not have a clear picture on how your insurance and other benefits will be impacted.  For programs under our Association, we have been pleased with the communication we have gotten from our vendor partners not only to us but to our members. We wanted to give you an update as to how our partners have been communicating to us and our member base. 

 Click here for specific program contact information.


NRF Foundation Now Offering Free Online Skills Training During Health Crisis

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2020 – The NRF Foundation, the educational arm of the National Retail Federation, announced today that it is offering its introductory RISE Up course for free to train more people with the foundational skills needed to secure jobs in retail and beyond.

“As the nation responds to the coronavirus, many retailers are currently hiring for 1 million open positions due to increased consumer demand, and people who earn a RISE Up credential will be better prepared to serve in these roles,” NRF Foundation Vice President Adam Lukoskie said.

Retail Industry Fundamentals is self-paced and can be completed online in approximately five to seven hours. It is available at no charge through June 12.

The course covers basic customer service and math skills, along with best practices for interviewing for jobs.

Individuals who are at least 15 years old can access the online platform here. Organizations that want to offer the training to their employees, clients and students can learn more here.

More than 800 training partners nationwide offer RISE Up training and credentials. To support social distancing through online learning, the NRF Foundation is now offering the online curriculum to partners who were originally delivering the training in person.

New partners and individuals can purchase the advanced, online training – Customer Service and Sales and Business of Retail: Operations and Profit – at a 50 percent discount.

Visit for updated information about COVID-19 and resources for retailers. 



Throughout the COVID-19 crisis a top priority for our small business members has been the safety and well-being of their workers.  The elevated health risks have made employer sponsored health insurance all the more important, and for many businesses the continuation of health care coverage will play an important role in their disaster recovery strategy. 

Both of our carriers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA and Fallon Health, have announced expansion of coverage and access to care to help members address health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  RAM reminds members that premium rates on all health insurance plans offered through RAMHIC now come with an upfront discount of 3% for both renewals and new participating members.  Qualifying members also have access to additional financial incentives and free ancillary benefits by purchasing through the cooperative.  Click here to learn more how you can start saving on health insurance and provide peace of mind to your employees during this trying time.

To learn more, click here to access our comprehensive RAMHIC webpage.

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