The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is prioritizing measures to ensure the health and safety of U.S. residents as they hunker down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our two main priorities, as always, are the health and safety of our people, their families, and the entities and individuals who appear before us; and the continuity of our mission to protect consumers and competition,” the FTC said in a statement on Tuesday (March 17).
In keeping with that end, the FTC is asking people to follow certain protocols.
A majority of the agency’s employees are working from home, aside from a select number of “mission-critical” staffers who must be on site. “By minimizing the number of people coming into our facilities, we can better protect those who do need to be here,” the FTC said.
The FTC has also put a hold on non-essential domestic and international travel and has banned travel to those countries that the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of State have classified as high risk. The agency has also canceled planned participation in most conferences and other public events.
“Almost all internal and external meetings will be handled by telephone or videoconference, and parties should assume that meetings will be held remotely, rather than in-person, until further notice,” the FTC said. “We will continue to closely monitor the situation, and evaluate and update our practices as circumstances change.”
The agency said it will operate without interruption regardless of institutional changes.
“Our work is as important now as ever, and we remain committed to protecting consumers and competition,” the FTC said.
President Donald Trump has asked people to limit contact with others for 15 days. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced plans for a legislative package to address the coronavirus crisis that includes “looking at sending checks to Americans immediately.”
Trump has unveiled a number of executive actions designed to blunt at least some of the economic impact of the coronavirus. In an address to the nation televised from the Oval Office, he termed these actions as an “unprecedented response” to the COVID-19 outbreak marshaling “the full power of the federal government and the private sector.”