Despite the governor and public health officials citing family gatherings as the main cause of the increase in COVID cases, it’s once again the workers and small business owners that is paying the price. We have repeatedly asked the governor and his administration for contact tracing data that would show how business openings have affected COVID rates and transmission. The National Retail Federation has even gone so far asfiling a public records request to obtain this critical information. Yet, just like our requests for relief from frivolous lawsuits, protection for businesses with teleworking capabilities and other efforts that could help mitigate the untold damage to the business community and economy, this request has gone unanswered.

There is no economic relief when a county and its workforce move back a tier; closed businesses must still pay taxes and fees on top of the increased liability they face as workers are furloughed or transition back to telework. This is only made worse by the fact that there is no safety-net left for employers. Short-term relief money has run out, forcing more and more businesses are closing their doors permanently. Today’s announcement is the realization of a worst-case scenario for tens of thousands of businesses.

We have repeatedly stated that the business community is ready to work with the governor on mitigating the spread of COVID, but once again he has acted without employer input or publicly available contract tracing data to support his actions.