Chamber Calls on Congress to Support Businesses and States as Pandemic Surges

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Monday announced an extension of the three-week Pause to Save Lives issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) by 12 days, with the regulations remaining in effect through Dec. 20.

The extension of this pause – though understandable in light of troubling trends in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths – will continue to pose significant challenges to our region’s businesses. The data clearly shows widespread and pervasive levels of COVID-19 and why an extension of the pause was needed. Daily averages for the last week have reached new highs:

  • Deaths:108
  • Cases: 6,827
  • Positive test average: 13.83%

While it is the responsibility of Gov. Whitmer and MDHHS to keep Michiganders safe, the public health and economic crises created by COVID-19 go hand-in-hand. As Michigan takes steps to protect public health, the responsibility now lies with Congress to do its part to mitigate the economic fallout. Congress must provide the much-needed relief to businesses, individuals, and states across the nation to survive the economic crisis.

The Detroit Regional Chamber sent an open letter to the Michigan Congressional delegation calling on them to immediately work together on the passage of the bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill.

Swift Compromise Around Pandemic Relief the Only Path Forward Through Crisis
Businesses are closed through no fault of their own out of public duty to keep people safe. The public health restrictions on business and social gatherings have resulted in many individuals enacting their own “stay-at-home” pledges to curtail activities to protect their families’ safety.

These two measures have increased the pain small businesses in every corner of this state are experiencing. These are the very businesses that will be needed to power a post-pandemic economy in Michigan. The time for leaders in Washington to act is now. The Detroit Regional Chamber urges bipartisan cooperation to pass the following pandemic relief:

  • Paycheck Protection Program. Extend eligibility, adapt guidelines for the ongoing crisis, ease forgiveness regulations, and ensure small businesses are able to access the program.
  • Enhanced Unemployment Assistance. While it is counterproductive to overly incent our workforce to stay home when legitimate employment is available, too many of our fellow citizens work in industries that have been disproportionately impacted by the crisis and need assistance.
  • Financial Assistance to States. The cornerstone of America’s economic recovery rests on the ability of states to deal with the impact of the pandemic and effectively distribute the vaccines expected in 2021.
  • Liability Protection for Businesses. Businesses of all types and sizes continually approach the Chamber with significant concerns that despite all the steps they take to operate safely, future COVID-19-related legal claims can erase a lifetime of work.

Passing a COVID-19 relief package is the most urgent priority, and it will require both Democrats and Republicans to accept certain policy elements that they do not support. That is the hard work of compromise, and it represents the only pathway forward through this crisis. The Detroit Regional Chamber remains unequivocal in its position that federal, state, and local governments need to do more to support businesses during this time of unprecedented disruption.

Learn more about the Pause to Save Lives.


Related:

Letter: Chamber Calls on Michigan Congressional Delegation for Business Support as Pandemic Orders Extended

Mask Up Michigan


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