Business & Lobbying

Chamber of Commerce, trade groups call for national standard on requiring masks

Chief executives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, the National Association of Manufacturers and others teamed up to call for a national standard for states on requiring mask wearing on Thursday. 

The group, which also included the Business Roundtable CEO and the American Council of Life Insurers CEO, wrote a letter to President Trump and Vice President Pence, as well as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to request that the White House coronavirus task force and the National Governors Association (NGA) work together. Hogan is the chairperson of the NGA and Cuomo is the vice chairperson. 

The CEOs stressed that state and local officials should be who mandates mask wearing, but voiced their concern over the public confusion and low levels of consumer confidence, as well as confrontations between customers and employees trying to enforce a policy, due to the variation in current mandatory mask 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,” the CEOs wrote. “We believe that a national mask standard, implemented locally, offers the surest way to protect public health and promote economic recovery.”

They requested the task force and NGA establish guidance on the appropriate metrics, whether positive tests numbers or hospitalization numbers, for imposing location-based mandatory mask requirements in public spaces.

They also asked that the task force and NGA develop model mandatory mask policies that are simple and don’t place the enforcement burden on companies.

Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California, Nevada, Rhode Island, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, New Mexico, Illinois and Washington have mandated masks when residents are in public spaces. Florida, which recorded more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, does not have a statewide mask mandate, but several Florida localities have required masks in public. 

The CEOs also asked for clarity that businesses and nonprofits will not be held liable for refusing entry or services to an individual who does not comply with face covering requirements. 

Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue, National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons, National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay, Business Roundtable CEO Joshua Bolten and American Council of Life Insurers CEO Susan Neely signed the letter as well as Industry Chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 Glenn Hamer and Chairperson of the Council of Manufacturing Associations Anne Forristall Luke.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump mandatory masks Mask National Governors Association

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