Joint Letter: Business Leaders Call on President, VP, and NGA to Lead on Face Covering Concerns

Thursday, July 2, 2020 - 3:00pm

 

The Honorable Donald J. Trump                               The Honorable Michael R. Pence          
President of the United States                                   Vice President of the United States
The White House                                                        The White House 
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW                                1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20500                                             Washington, DC, 20050
 
The Honorable Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr.                     The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor, State of Maryland                                       Governor, State of New York
Chair                                                                             Vice Chair
National Governors Association                                 National Governors Association
444 North Capitol St NW #267                                   444 North Capitol St NW #267
Washington, DC  20001                                              Washington, DC  20001

 

Dear President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Governors Hogan and Cuomo,

 

          The medical evidence is clear: the wearing of masks or face coverings in public settings, especially when it is not possible to consistently maintain social distancing, is a critical element to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Regrettably, in recent weeks we have seen evidence that in some areas where there is growing community spread, issuing voluntary guidance on masks is insufficient to protect public health. Absent stronger measures to prevent transmission, communities across America risk another round of shutdowns, broad restrictions on non-essential activities, and irreparable economic harm.

 

          Current local and state mandatory mask requirements vary widely in scope, application, and enforcement. For example, there is variation on whether the mandate applies to all businesses, to just employees or also customers, and exemptions for age or other health conditions (e.g. asthma). In addition, in some locations the mandate is imposed on businesses for them to enforce. Not only has this led to public confusion and lower levels of consumer confidence, but it has also contributed to confrontations between customers and employees and litigation from both directions -- enforcing mask requirements and failing to enforce mask requirements.

 

          For the sake of public health and our economy, we request that the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the National Governors Association work together to:

  1. Establish guidance on the appropriate metrics (e.g. positive tests, hospitalizations) for imposing location-based mandatory mask requirements in all public spaces;
  2. Develop model mandatory mask policies that are simple and do not impose the enforcement burden on organizations without such expertise, such as businesses and non-profits; and
  3. Make clear that businesses and non-profits will not be held liable for refusing entry or services to an individual who is not complying with face covering requirements.

 

          To be clear, the decision to impose face covering requirements should remain at the state or local level but be informed by clear and consistent guidance based on data. We believe that a national mask standard, implemented locally, offers the surest way to protect public health and promote economic recovery.

 

          Across the country, the business community is stepping up to not only manufacture masks, but also to distribute them free of charge, and to promote the wearing of face coverings. We stand ready to continue to work in partnership with government at all levels to combat this pandemic and support our economy.

 

Respectfully,

 

 

Thomas J. Donohue                                                                     Joshua Bolten

CEO                                                                                                President & CEO

U.S. Chamber of Commerce                                                        Business Roundtable

 

Jay Timmons                                                                                 Matthew Shay

President & CEO                                                                           President & CEO

National Association of Manufacturers                                       National Retail Federation

 

Susan K. Neely                                                                              Glenn Hamer

President & CEO                                                                           President & CEO

American Council of Life Insurers                                                Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

                                                                                                        Chair, Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100

Anne Forristall Luke

President & CEO, U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association

Chair, Council of Manufacturing Associations

 

 

cc:

The Members of the United States Congress 

National Association of Counties

National League of Cities

United States Conference of Mayors