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Guest column/Chamber asks businesses, customers to follow protocols

Given the recent increase in COVID cases in the Tri-State Area and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s comments at his Wednesday press conference, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is asking that local businesses enforce the state-mandated safety protocols pertaining to masks and social distancing. The board also asks that local residents follow the protocols when patronizing our local businesses.

Regardless of where you stand personally or politically, from a financial and economic standpoint, we cannot afford to have our local businesses suffer through another shutdown. By encouraging all businesses and residents to do their part, we can possibly help prevent further closings at our schools and businesses. Please do your part by wearing a mask when patronizing a local business, attending an event, a church service, school program or any other gathering that is indoors or where social distancing cannot be done properly.

If our schools begin to shut down again, this decreases the number of people who are out shopping and dining. And if our businesses are required to close again, many will not survive. Wearing a mask is respectful of others, especially those who you do not know and who may have an at-risk child, parent or friend. By not wearing a mask into a business, you put the owner or manager in a very uncomfortable position. If they ask someone to wear one who doesn’t want to, they risk losing a customer, which is not something they can afford. And if they don’t enforce the mask mandate, they may lose customers who feel unsafe due to other customers not wearing masks. And last, we ask our local business owners and their employees to follow the mandate as well. Your actions affect the entire business community.

The only win-win is for everyone to step up and, regardless of your opinion, take one for the team. Help Jefferson County set a positive example for all of Ohio and help the entire Tri-State Area get through the COVID-19 pandemic with the least amount of damage possible.

(Maple-Damewood is president of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber board James Emmerling, Em-Media Inc.; John Cucarese, New York Life; Scott Lockhart, Hancock County Savings Bank; Brad Degenkolb, Holiday Inn of Weirton; Janna Rusinovich-Sims, the Laurels of Steubenville; Toni Moreland, Toni Moreland State Farm; Melanie Dragoun, Voto Manufacturers Sales Co.; Laurie Labishak, Trinity Health System; Michael Vok, Ohio Valley Down Syndrome Support Group; and Tony Mougianis, Apollo Professional Cleaning and Restoration.)

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