HELENA- We, the undersigned, are as concerned about the rising number of COVID 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 for everyone and rolling back reopening, our Associations are convinced that reverting back to Phase 1 restrictions would bring irreparable harm to thousands of Montana businesses and the tens of thousands of Montana citizens that they employ. Brad Griffin, President of the Montana Restaurant Association 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, social distancing and 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.
“Montana lodging facilities are dedicated to cleaning at the highest standards. It is in this spirit that the Montana Lodging & Hospitality Association (MLHA) recently endorsed the new Safe Stay Program. This program provides enhanced cleaning measures and new safety guidelines that encourages appropriate face coverings”, Stuart Doggett from the Montana Lodging & Hospitality Association remarks.
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 so that we can protect the public’s health and stay open for business.