OBI Responds to Latest Round of Business Closures
We absolutely share the governor’s concern about rising COVID cases and hospitalizations across Oregon. The end of this pandemic is in sight, and all of us need to continue practicing safety measures, including getting fully vaccinated, so we can put this difficult crisis behind us and return to normal life.
That said, every time businesses are forced to close, we know there are some that cannot sustain the financial blow and will have no choice but to close their doors for good. Empty storefronts on main streets across our state are proof of the devastating impact of forced business closures over the last 13 months. These latest closures – with little time for the businesses to prepare – are one more setback to business owners who have followed all the rules, keeping their customers and employees safe for more than a year. Families will again suffer economic hardships as jobs are lost.
The governor has committed to regularly reviewing the closures and limiting their duration if the pandemic trends improve. We will hold her at her word.
We urge Gov. Brown and the Legislature to act immediately to establish a fund to cover losses sustained by business owners in this latest round of closures and to provide a safety net for Oregonians about to lose their jobs – again. We know significant funds will be available shortly through the federal American Rescue Plan. The state has more than enough resources to provide immediate relief.
Achieving herd immunity through vaccination is also critical. In some areas, frontline workers continue to have challenges getting appointment times. We urge Gov. Brown to continue efforts to work with employers to make the vaccine easily accessible to workers whose jobs demand they be on site and who may not be able to sit in front of a computer for hours trying to schedule appointment times.
Together, we have made great progress in our fight against this pandemic. We know that the best way to stop the spread of COVID is to limit your social gatherings, always wear a mask indoors, wash your hands, and keep your distance from those not in your household. And, most importantly, get your shot. All Oregonians must do their part to move us beyond the health risks to a point where we can focus on rebuilding devastated business and restoring jobs and lost incomes for families across our state.