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AHFA Champions Its Members in 50-State Outreach Effort

This month governors in all 50 states learned about the home furnishings industry’s successes in operating safely during the COVID-19 health crisis.

Senior staff members in charge of COVID response efforts within each governor’s office received custom face masks produced within the home furnishings industry, along with the industry’s “Safe=Essential” message developed by the Alliance4Safety.

The Alliance4Safety is a coalition of associations representing all segments of the home furnishings industry. The organizations joined forces to convey a unified industry message to federal and state officials. Rather than relying on arbitrary definitions of an “essential” product or service, the Alliance4Safety recommends decision-making based on whether a business can operate safely.           

“The Alliance4Safety package arrived just as COVID cases are surging. Many states are reluctantly debating whether some degree of shutdown may once again be necessary to control spread of the virus,” explains Andy Counts, CEO of the American Home Furnishings Alliance.  

“We are reminding senior policy officials in all 50 states that the most important criteria for operating a business during a health crisis is the ability to operate safely. Businesses and industries – like those within our sector – that are committed to operating safely and that adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, along with state and local departments of health, can and should remain open, even when other closures are deemed necessary.”

The communication was developed after Counts was contacted in late September by the National Governors Association (NGA), which represents the leaders of 55 states and U.S. territories. NGA asked AHFA to share the framework of the Alliance4Safety initiative, which outlines a broad array of measures adopted throughout the home furnishings industry to protect workers’ health while, at the same time, preserving their jobs.         

The communication to the governors echoes the Alliance4Safety website, which states: “All businesses and industries are ‘essential’ to those whose livelihoods depend on them.”

AHFA spearheaded the Alliance4Safety project, which is supported by the International Casual Furnishings Association, Solution Partners and Specialized Furniture Carriers – all AHFA affiliates – as well as by the Home Furnishings Association, International Home Furnishings Representatives Association and International Sleep Products Association.

The Alliance4Safety website outlines measures that keep industry workers “safe at the factory door; safe on the factory floor; safe in the store; and safe at the customer’s home.”