Sunday, January 24, 2021

BUSINESS: How we can all help

| January 13, 2021 1:00 AM

What a time to own a business. On the one hand, some anti-maskers stage demonstrations, threaten employees, and bring lawsuits against businesses who enforce mask mandates. On the other hand, employees threaten lawsuits for not enforcing mask mandates, and their attorneys feel strengthened by OSHA’s determination that COVID-19 is a potential workplace hazard. What an Eleanor Roosevelt moment: “You’ll be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

I doubt any entrepreneurs started their business believing that they would have to weigh the risks of employee safety against misplaced customer demands. Yes, misplaced, because these no-mask demands were cultivated from high levels of frustration over perceived government overreach. The business did not set the mask mandate. They are trying to remain open, retain their employee talent, and pay their suppliers and overhead.

What can we do to revive our local economy, to support our business owners and their employees? We can SHOP LOCAL. We can put on our mask (or choose a clear shield) for the few minutes it takes to make a purchase. We can help our business owners recover and get back to the business they launched. We can help change their focus from crisis and threats to rehiring and developing highly engaged employees who are motivated to provide attentive service, leading to positive customer experiences, and in turn, solid business outcomes.

Rather than vilify businesses who comply to stay open, we should work together and engage in productive dialogue with those who pass the regulations.