A few simple steps will help keep businesses open

| August 11, 2020 8:31 AM

To the editor:

We, the undersigned, are as concerned about the rising number of COVID-19 cases and public health as we are with the economic health of the businesses we represent.

As we watch many states around the country mandating face masks and rolling back reopening, our Associations are convinced that reverting back to Phase One restrictions would bring irreparable harm to thousands of Montana businesses and the tens of thousands of the workers that they employ.

Brad Griffin, President of the Montana Restaurant Association has said, “We recognize that face masks may be controversial, but we also want to stay ahead of this growing threat to the safety of our employees and our customers and we want to stay open to serve our customers to the fullest extent possible.”

We are calling upon the public to help do all that it can to keep us in Phase 2 operations and stay on track for an economic recovery.

These actions are familiar to all of us and include staying home if you are sick, abiding by social distancing recommendations and practicing good hygiene. Todd O’Hair, CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce adds that “common sense hygiene practices such as hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes are all simple ways to help prevent the spread of the disease.”

Additionally, we are calling upon the public to help stop the spread by wearing a mask in all public areas, especially when social distancing cannot be easily achieved. Residents and visitors need to take strong measures voluntarily to avert any further restrictions.

Our associations also call upon Montana state and local health officials to devise a standardized checklist of actions that businesses must take when one of their employees gets sick with COVID-19 so that we can protect the public’s health and stay open for business.

Montana Chamber of Commerce, Montana Restaurant Association, Montana Tavern Association, Montana Lodging and Hospitality Association, Montana Gaming Association

Hospitality and Development Association of Montana