Encouraging a safe business environment can help drive America's recovery
© Getty Images

As businesses prepare to reopen across the country, protecting the health of American workers and customers is of paramount importance. Congress has already enacted four bipartisan bills to combat COVID-19 and to help our fellow citizens weather the economic and employment disruption this public health crisis has spawned. Nevertheless, more bipartisan congressional action is necessary in order to ensure that our communities and our constituents are safe.

As stay-at-home restrictions are eased or lifted, Congress should focus on creating an environment that enables businesses to reopen and sustain their operations in a safe manner.

According to health experts, COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for days if those surfaces are not adequately disinfected. In their published guidance, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emphasize that “reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfection is an important part of reopening public spaces that will require careful planning.” Having listened to business owners in our districts, we are confident they are willing—and indeed eager—to take unprecedented measures to reopen safely. But many of them lack the money, expertise, cleaning products, or trained personnel to disinfect for COVID-19 properly.

ADVERTISEMENT

That’s why we’ve introduced the “Clean Start: Back to Work” tax credit legislation. Our bill will help companies ensure their workspaces are appropriately cleaned and disinfected as states lift stay-at-home orders. The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association estimates that cleaning costs associated with COVID-19 will be at least 50 percent higher than they were prior to the pandemic. This figure could be even higher for certain businesses with a greater risk of exposure or a higher percentage of at-risk individuals.

Given the financial hardship many businesses are currently facing, we’ve proposed to offer them a temporary tax credit through March 2021 to help offset the increased costs of cleaning and disinfecting their workspaces. Qualified expenses under our legislation include training existing staff or hiring certified personnel, buying cleaning products, and furnishing employees with personal protective equipment.

The last thing we want is for businesses to reopen only to have to shut down again because of an outbreak of COVID-19 cases within their operation. That’s why we’ve come together to introduce this bipartisan legislation to help businesses devastated by COVID-19 safely reopen.

All of us, regardless of party, want our lives to return to normal. We want American businesses to open, American workers to get back on the job, and the American economy to thrive. To ensure that the re-opening our country is safe and sustainable, Congress should pass our bipartisan bill.

Darin LaHoodDarin McKay LaHoodAmerica can't afford to ignore the food service distribution industry On The Money: McConnell previews GOP coronavirus bill | Senate panel advances Trump Fed nominee who recently supported gold standard | Economists warn about scaled-back unemployment benefits Bipartisan bill introduced to provide tax credit to food and beverage distributors MORE serves Illinois’ 18th District. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyDemocrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise Bank lobbying group launches ad backing Collins reelection bid House Democrats call on State Department for information on Uighur prisoner Ekpar Asat MORE serves Florida’s 7th District. Both serve on the House Ways and Means Committee