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On The Money: Businesses plead for states to enforce mask mandates | Trump tax returns unlikely before November | June deficit sets record at $864 billion

On The Money: Businesses plead for states to enforce mask mandates | Trump tax returns unlikely before November | June deficit sets record at $864 billion
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Happy Monday and welcome back to On The Money, where we’re wondering what the Washington football team will be called now. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL — Businesses plead for states to enforce mask mandates: Enforcement of statewide mask mandates is increasingly falling on retail and restaurant workers as local police departments take a hands-off approach to compliance.

A growing number of states and cities have imposed mask orders to slow the spread of COVID-19 as a second surge of coronavirus cases risks another round of lockdowns. But a wave of clashes between employees and customers has left business groups pleading with state officials to step in and ease the burden on vulnerable workers.

“Public health officials and local governments are in the best position to enforce these requirements,” said Jason Straczewski, vice president for government relations and political affairs at the National Retail Federation.

“It is unfair and, we feel, not appropriate to ask retail workers, grocery store workers, and restaurant workers to have to enforce these requirements,” he continued, adding that retailers are happy to provide “plenty of signage” and “friendly reminders” about masks.

I explain more here.

Why wear a mask?

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  • Several dozen studies have shown that masks are highly effective at curbing the spread of the coronavirus and only pose health risks to small children and those with physical disabilities. 
  • Economists say the widespread adoption of mask-wearing could help save the U.S. from a deeper economic dive caused by another round of lockdowns while allowing the economy to reopen in a safer fashion.

Why people aren’t wearing masks:

  • Despite the overwhelming effectiveness, the act of wearing one has become increasingly politically polarized.
  • While some Republican governors have imposed mask mandates, other GOP governors and politicians have scorned such orders as infringements on personal liberty.

What happens when customers don’t want to wear masks:

  • Viral videos of angry, maskless customers screaming at fellow patrons, berating store employees, and throwing merchandise have circulated throughout the pandemic. 
  • Reports of violence against employees left to enforce mask orders have also raised alarm among advocates for retailers, restaurants and their workers.

"To protect America’s food supply, we must ensure our grocery stores are safe – and a critical piece of this is ensuring that customers shop smarter,” said Marc Perrone, international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union.

LEADING THE DAY

Trump tax returns unlikely before November: Two Supreme Court rulings this week in cases about President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE’s financial records add new obstacles to the public seeing Trump’s tax returns before Election Day.

Two Supreme Court rulings this week in cases about President Trump’s financial records add new obstacles to the public seeing Trump’s tax returns before Election Day.

But the pair of rulings, which send the cases back to lower courts, give Trump new opportunities to run out the clock.

“It would take a miracle at this point for them to become public before the election,” said Philip Hackney, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda tells us why here.

 

June deficit sets record at $864 billion: The federal deficit set a new record in June, hitting a whopping $864 billion as coronavirus relief funds rolled out of the Treasury.

The government data released Monday showed the annual deficit had risen to $2.7 trillion in the first three quarters of the fiscal year, nearly double the largest full-year deficit on record.

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Congress has approved more $3 trillion in emergency aid and support and is considering another round of relief before the end of the month, when a slew of benefits are set to expire

The Hill’s Niv Elis breaks it down here.

 

GOOD TO KNOW