Northwest Chamber Alliance: Wear a mask, save a business

Editor’s note: A coalition of chambers of commerce in Boulder and Broomfield counties has mounted a campaign to encourage people to wear masks because masks have the potential to keep businesses open and operating. Their statement follows:

It’s just that simple . . . By wearing a mask, you’re preventing the spread of COVID-19. By preventing the spread of COVID-19, you’re protecting public health. And, by protecting public health, you’re making it safer for businesses to operate.  

As you can tell from the accompanying picture, we’re serious about sharing this message.

The Northwest Chamber Alliance is a coalition of chambers of commerce in Boulder and Broomfield counties representing more than 3,600 businesses and 370,000 employees, which advocates for measures that strengthen our regional economy and sustain our communities. It’s important work that often entails face-to-face dialogue and collective action in support of local businesses.

Today we stand together, our faces covered and distantly united, asking everyone to join us in support of  local businesses.

We all know that businesses are suffering from the ravages of COVID-19. From the early closures and, now, restricted operations, they are struggling to serve their customers and keep their staffs gainfully employed, all while maintaining a safe environment. They’re also working to deliver valuable products and services to those who aren’t yet comfortable venturing into public spaces. It’s a strain on their energy and their financial resources.

Fortunately, as we can see from the bustling outdoor restaurant seating areas and the dialogue about shopping locally, it’s clear that residents care deeply about the welfare of local businesses. And for good reason. They contribute character to our retail environment, they provide services that make us feel and look great, and they are core to the strength of our local tax base. Perhaps most importantly, they are our friends and neighbors.

When your friend or neighbor is in need, that’s usually the time we pull together and do what it takes to lift them back on their feet. We apply some elbow grease, we dig deep to provide financial assistance, and we deliver food (usually more than they need). We’re so used to witnessing those selfless acts of community support that it’s almost second nature. It’s just what we do.

Well, in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the friends and neighbors who own and operate local businesses, we’re not asking you to bake those famous cupcakes. In fact, the selfless act we’re promoting actually isn’t so selfless, because it means helping yourself at the same time. We’re talking about wearing a covering over your face. It’s just what you need to do . . . and there’s evidence that it works to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Per the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website: “Masks appear to help keep the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others . . . New evidence also suggests masks may also partially protect the wearer, especially from severe infection.” For example, “two infected hair salon employees in Missouri did not transmit any apparent infections to any of their 139 clients in the setting of mask use by them and nearly all of their clients.” 

There are other examples, but the point is clear: Wearing a mask can protect you and others. It also means those businesses that you care about can keep their doors open. The greatest threat to our local economy and businesses is a spike in the COVID-19 infection rate that will force public health officials to reinstitute the harshest restrictions on business and personal activity. Think back to the darkest days of our early Stay at Home orders and the devastation to so many local businesses and their teams. We cannot go back there.

That is where you can help. Wearing a face covering when in public isn’t what any of us desire, but it’s what we need to do — among the many other measures our businesses are taking to protect the public and their work teams — to contain the spread of COVID-19. So please join us in this cause. Our economy, local businesses, our friends and neighbors are counting on us. Heck, the leadership of the Northwest Chamber Alliance even agreed to mug for this goofy Zoom photo to make sure you know we’re serious when we say, “Wear your mask and save a business!”