A coalition of Massachusetts business groups released a manifesto on Tuesday urging the Baker administration not to reinstate COVID-19 masks or statewide vaccination warrants as they strive to stay afloat in the the middle of the pandemic.
In a statement, they listed “market principles” that would allow a trend towards normality, even as COVID-19 increases due to the delta and omicron variants. They also called for more public funding to help them recoup their losses and deal with lingering challenges.
“Government-imposed mandates will hurt small businesses by reducing sales, increasing operating costs and placing employers in unfair positions to enforce health orders,” the coalition made up of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts , the Massachusetts chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the North Shore Chamber of Commerce and the state Package Store Association wrote.
While Gov. Charlie Baker resists a statewide mask mandate, some communities – Boston, Peabody and Salem, for example – have implemented them. Many others require them in municipal buildings, and still others have not reinstated any restrictions.
Baker said his reluctance was part of the very reason business groups were calling on him: to keep them alive. But Baker has also been criticized by health officials and others for his lack of leadership on this front, creating mass confusion.
Let’s be clear: mask and vaccine mandates are key to turning the omicron wave backwards. These decisions cannot simply be left to individual companies. Federal, state, and local health and safety rules exist for a reason; market principles have little to do with public health.
That said, the coalition is absolutely right when it says the government needs to be faster and more efficient when it comes to helping businesses affected by the pandemic.
With a surplus of $ 2.3 billion and ARPA funds remaining in the pandemic relief fund, it is imperative that lawmakers continue to delegate funds to support the economy – and protect people’s livelihoods. .