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Business groups applaud Biden's push for masks

Business groups applaud Biden's push for masks
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Business groups are commending President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit On The Money: Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report | GOP targets jobless aid after lackluster April gain MORE for calling on all Americans to wear masks, making the case Monday that the move is part of a shared civic duty. 

Since he was declared the winner of last week's vote, Biden has focused putting together a task force to implement his COVID-19 plan. His message on masks stands in stark contrast to President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE’s, which have involved talking down their importance.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) celebrated Biden for following the science in his efforts to defeat COVID-19.

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“Americans and the American economy benefit from a consistent message on how to control the pandemic in order to bring our economy back and save jobs and lives. President-elect Joe Biden’s message today, which is based on fact and science, is the type of leadership by example that will help us achieve that,” NAM CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement.

Timmons noted that manufacturers have been calling for Americans to wear face coverings in public since early in the pandemic.

“Manufacturers and the business community look forward to continuing to work with the Biden–Harris transition team and administration to ensure that our nation successfully restores our public health and recovers economically,” he said. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement that the pro-business lobbying group is encouraged that Biden announced a COVID-19 task force as one of his first actions following the election.

“As medical evidence has shown, wearing masks in public settings, especially when it is not possible to maintain social distancing, is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19. We have seen businesses step up to help customers and employees feel safe by modeling mask wearing, social distancing, and signage, and we look forward to working with President-Elect Biden’s Task Force to help slow the spread of the virus,” Chamber President Suzanne Clark said in a statement.

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Biden said in a Monday speech that wearing a mask is not a political statement but a way to pull the country together and give Americans back “a normal life.” 

"I won’t be president until Jan. 20, but my message today to everyone is this: It doesn’t matter who you voted for or where you stood before Election Day. It doesn’t matter your party or point of view. We could save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next couple months," Biden said. "Not Democrat or Republican lives, American lives."

The National Retail Federation (NRF), which represents retail companies, said that the sector has served as the equivalent of economic first responders while also protecting the health and safety of employees. 

“We appreciate that the President-elect has been steadfast in his calls for science based solutions to this health emergency, as has the retail industry. The NRF pledges to work with him and his team to restart the economy, which we agree is possible only when our front line workers and Americans in communities across the country have the information and tools they need to finally beat this deadly virus,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

Business groups, including NAM, NRF, the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, had called for consistent federal and state guidelines on safety measures, including face coverings, in a July letter to President Trump and Vice President Pence. 

Biden in his speech on Monday declared the election over. Trump has not conceded the race to Biden and instead has focused his energy on mounting legal challenges regarding the vote count in key battleground states. 

The advocacy group for one sector hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants, commented on the necessity of Biden’s remarks. 

“We think that president-elect’s comments on masks and smashing the coronavirus are needed and we look forward to continuing to work with the incoming administration on how to do that in a responsible way,” said Sean Kennedy, National Restaurant Association executive vice president of public affairs.

Biden’s speech came as the U.S. is averaging almost 1,000 coronavirus deaths a day and reported more than 103,000 new cases on Sunday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

“We could save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next couple months,” Biden said. “Not Democrat or Republican lives, American lives.”