Chamber Of Commerce President Worries About Survival Of Local Businesses Due To Coronavirus

State cabinet secretary says reopening businesses may find it difficult to get employees, customers back.


Frederick, Md (KM) The businesses which were forced to close due to the coronavirus are itching to get back open, according to Frederick County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rick Weldon. “We’ve got businesses out there that are literally hanging on by their fingertips,” he says. “The longer this goes on, the fewer of them will be able to come back.”

Weldon, who was a guest recently on WFMD’s “Morning News Express” says he understands the concern about protecting the public health. But he says it can be done without hurting businesses. They will do all they can to protect their employees and customers from the COVID-19 virus. “No business owner I’ve ever interacted with—and I’ve interacted with tens of thousands of them–ever wants to put an employee who they love, or a customer who they treasure in any sort of risk,” he said. “They won’t do anything that they think will create risk.”

He says many of the downtown Frederick stores have placed plastic sneeze guards at their checkout counters  to protect customers and cashiers, and have marked off six-feet of space on the floor where people can separate themselves form each other to help slow the spread of the coronavirius. He says it’ all being done without any government regulation.

Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz says .businesses that can reopen either across the state or in Frederick County will have to make sure they have a  workforce available, and some employees may not want to return due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “All these businesses are going to have to get their workforce back in order to be able to manage and run the business,” she said. “I hear everyday from employees who have some sensitivity to coming back to the workforce.”

But Schulz, who also was a guest recently on WFMD’s “Morning News Express,” says some customers also feel the same way. She says business owners  can sign and post a pledge that says they are doing all they can to keep their customers safe.

On Wednesday, Governor Larry Hogan loosened  some of the restrictions put in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19

When the virus was first detected in Maryland earlier this year, the Governor declared a state of emergency which covered the entire state. The coronavirus has been detected in every part of the state, but it’s affected some counties more severely than others.

During the program, Schulz was asked why the Governor imposed the state of emergency on the entire state when only a few counties were hit hard. “It was necessary because we needed to manage the spread,” she responded. “We were not in a position a couple of months ago to be able to provide the types of resources to all of the counties that they may have needed if the spread went to all of the outlying areas.”

Schulz says  the state was able to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and she believes the state is prepared if there’s a resurgence of COVID-19.

For those who need additional information about assistance programs for businesses can go to the Department of Commerce website.


By Kevin McManus