Governor Lee announces executive order closing all non-essential businesses:

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 30, 2020

From Bart Krisle - CEO:

This afternoon Governor Bill Lee issued a two-week statewide order closing non-essential businesses and telling residents to stay at home to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The order is similar to restrictions already in place in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga and more than half of other states across the country.
 
The order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and will last through April 14, during which time only essential businesses are to continue to operate. Residents are strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible.
 
"This is not a mandated 'shelter in place' order, because it remains deeply important to me to protect personal liberties," Lee said at a Monday afternoon news briefing.
 
As a reminder, Co-op is one of those essential businesses that is still allowed to operate during this time. Employees should print off the Travel Permit in the resource library below and carry it in case they are stopped or questioned by local authorities in the course of their work. Our role in the food supply chain is vital to our society, and we can’t allow this crisis to hinder our duty to continue to provide the products and services our farmers require.
 
Governor Lee’s directive comes on the heels of President Trump’s announcement yesterday that current CDC social distancing guidelines would remain in place until April 30.
 
TFC employees should expect to continue working in their current manner — whether working from remotely or at a TFC facility until that time. We will communicate any changes in this situation as needed.
 
I strongly encourage you to continue to be responsible at home, at work, and in our communities.



UPDATE AS OF MARCH 24, 2020: Co-op's Response to COVID-19

From Bart Krisle - CEO:

The message below went out today to our member Co-ops. The entire message is being included here for the sake of transparency with our employees. The essential points to take away from this message are these:
  • Agriculture has been deemed ‘critical infrastructure’ amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Co-ops will remain open due to this status in spite of these restrictions.
  • We have added transportation permits to our resource library which are documents for employees and truck drivers who may need them in the event of a stay/executive order. Please print off and give to your team members.
Additionally, we are including in Addendum #12 information on the PhysicanNow® telehealth service that is part of your BlueCross BlueShield group health service. This is an excellent and affordable option for minor health concerns. The service will be processed the same as a doctor office visit, but at a flat rate of no more than $40 a call.  You can get treatment through this service without going to the doctor office and sitting in the waiting room.  Be sure to keep this information handy, and consider it should you need treatment.
 
We understand you are naturally concerned about the situation, and we stress once again that the health and well being of our employees, our customers, and our community is our first priority.  Should you have questions, feel free to talk with your supervisor.
 
We will continue to monitor this situation and communicate developments.

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 23, 2020 TO MEMBER MANAGERS

From Bart Krisle - CEO:

Yesterday, Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 17 calling for businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning at midnight CDT on Monday, March 23 until midnight CDT April 6, 2020. While most of the order applies to restaurants, bars, and gyms and imposes restrictions on visitors to nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term care or assisted-living facilities, it also encourages businesses to “enact policies that take extra steps to assist vulnerable populations by considering measures such as shopping hours exclusive from the general public.”
 
Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced greater restrictions yesterday as well through a “Safer at Home Order, issued by the Medical Director pursuant to the Metro of Public Health Department’s declaration of a Health Emergency. The order closes non-essential businesses and encourages residents throughout Davidson County to stay home when possible and avoid social gatherings of 10 or more for 14 days beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 23.
 
Read the text of Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order 17 here. (Addendum 7)
 
Read the text of Mayor John Cooper’s Press Update here (Addendum 8)
 
Many of our Co-ops have already taken the important step of offering curbside delivery methods.  If your Co-op has not already done so, I would encourage you to implement a similar policy immediately. There could be further restrictions in the coming days, and it is important for all our Co-op community to stay ahead of these developments.
 
Additionally, be sure to remind your customers and the general public that Co-ops are open and considered an essential business.  Should further restrictions be issued, it’s important for the general public to understand that Co-op is considered an essential business. Communicate any changes in business practices, hours/days of operation, or enhanced services to customers as quickly as possible.
 
(See communications suggestions below on this website.)
 
Should your local government implement a similar policy, or issue one that goes further than either of these examples, please notify Chief Marketing Officer Phil Farmer.
 
I remind you once again to stress good hygiene practices and social distancing with your employees and customers. And be sure to follow the guidelines in the message below should an employee or customer test positive for the coronavirus.
 
TFC has implemented a work force redundancy plan for the LaVergne office. If you have a problem communicating with any TFC employees, contact the appropriate department or facility manager.
 
These words bear repeating, too. We encourage you to be responsible.  Be responsible at home; at work, and in our communities.   Be safe, but take caution as if everyone is a carrier of the virus. We are part of our nation’s food supply system, therefore we are not afforded the luxury of shutting down operations as a mere precaution.
 
Thank you for your cooperation and all you are doing for agriculture, our customers, and our Co-op system.
 
Rest assured we will get through this. Stay safe and stay well. We are all in this together.

Communicating your COVID-19 Response:

For your customers:
  • Stress service. Co-op is known for its service, and this should be promoted. Emphasize delivery options that do not require customers to come in to the store, and enhance these services if necessary. Stockdale’s stores, for example, are offering items to be delivered directly to the customers’ cars. Customers simply call the store, and their order is brought out to them.
  • Notify the public quickly if there must be any changes to the normal hours and days of operation.
Social Media:
  • Use your social media to get this information out and connect with customers. You could also post these practices in your windows and at the sales counters where customers will see them. See examples from AgCentral (CLICK HERE) and from Stockdale’s (CLICK HERE).
  • For a Co-op general graphic (CLICK HERE). This graphic can use on your own social media page. If you need help creating copy to go with the graphic or to create handouts dealing with enhanced service/delivery methods, contact the TFC Communications Department.
  • Be flexible, monitor events, and make changes as necessary during this time.
Inner-Facility Communication Materials:

Any questions should be directed to the department and/or facility manager who will contact senior staff. If the situation requires other measures, we will communicate that information as soon as possible. With everyone working diligently together, we stand the greatest chance of minimizing any issues in connection with the Coronavirus outbreak.  
 
Thank you for your support and flexibility as we navigate a continuously changing situation.