President Trump has made a concerted effort over the past few weeks to contain the spread of COVID-19 and ease the minds of families. He recently declared a national emergency that made billions of dollars in federal funds available for emergency responses to the virus. He also took the appropriate steps to institute a travel ban from European countries and has closed the border with Canada for all nonessential traffic.
Trump has urged people to stay home, if possible, and to wash their hands frequently. He is fighting for additional funds to go directly to the public to help citizens across our nation in this time of need.
But there is another action that Trump took recently that is also critically important but overlooked by many in the media. The president issued his strong support for protecting the U.S. food supply chain, which is critical for ensuring people across the country have access to essential resources. And, in lockstep with this measure, on the heels of a call with food industry leaders, Trump relayed an important message: Resist the urge to panic buy because our food supply chains are strong and will be supported.
While many people may think our nation’s food supply chains are primarily supported by grocery stores, other important businesses within the economy, such as convenience stores, also play a crucial role in providing easy access to food and drinks as well as other essential goods during this time.
In fact, of the total $242.2 billion in-store sales generated by convenience stores last year, half were from food and drink items. Furthermore, 47% of all individual water bottles sold in America are sold at convenience stores, and 80% of fuel in America is provided by convenience stores, making many grateful for the work they and many people in the business community are doing to help our nation combat this virus.
Thankfully, the Trump administration, through the Department of Homeland Security, took appropriate steps to designate convenience stores and other industries as part of the critical infrastructure workforce, a directive that I am confident governors and other leaders across America will champion as they help lead their communities and states during this time.
As people are rushing to grocery and convenience stores to stock up on vital supplies, we must remember all those who are standing on the front lines to be of help during this time of need. Whether it is business owners who are providing necessary food and supplies or doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who are helping to implement critical care to those who have been unfortunately stricken by this virus, our nation is grateful to all those who have stepped up to serve.
During a crisis, it is easy to understand why shoppers rush to the stores and stock up. But, to prevent the panic buying that has ensued, we must ensure that customers know supplies will continue to be available. As Trump has said, our food supply chains are critical, and we are grateful to all of those who are playing an important link in this chain that should be supported.
Scott Walker, a Republican, was the 45th governor of Wisconsin.