It’s time to call a timeout. Walk to our sidelines and have a chat. As we approach the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic we need to talk. For two years we have thanked and supported healthcare workers and they unquestionably deserve it. They are heroes who have worked long hours and saved lives.
There is another group of workers who have worked hard as well. They have showed up, they have served their customers and worked to feed their families. This group, who run and work in small businesses are now in the middle of a growing fight. Masks mandates and vaccine requirements are all things we should continue to discuss but no matter which side of the question you fall on, putting small business in the middle is unfair and it is wrong. These Keizerites did not write the rules and have little training or support to enforce them.
Here at the Keizer Chamber we take calls often from owners frustrated because a customer on one side or the other of these debates verbally attacked one of their employees over masks or vaccines. It needs to stop. These businesses employ our neighbors and provide the goods and services on which we all depend. They did not pick this fight and should not be put in the middle. In short, we need to show them the grace they have earned by taking care of us over the last two years.
If you have strong opinions one way or the other on masks or vaccines by all means, reach out to your elected leaders and make your voice heard. But no matter how much you yell and scream, or even worse, vent in the small business’ reviews, the clerk at the corner store cannot fix these issues and the owner is doing the best they can with guidance and rules changing daily. Understand that small businesses are doing they best they can in an impossible situation.
(Submitted by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce.)