Reopening Cape Cod
The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce did not need to conduct a survey to measure the devastating impact of the novel Coronavirus on our local businesses. We have been fielding your calls for assistance and hearing the first-hand stories in alarming detail. Our initial Impact Survey reports many businesses lost 50 to 100% of revenues, with half of those responding anticipating 50% in losses in the next six months and more than 5% stating they will not reopen.
Not a single town, not a single sector of the economy has gone untouched – almost every business is seriously wounded, both long-timers and recent startups. It is the most extraordinary combination of events any of us could imagine: a global health crisis compounded by an equally horrendous loss of jobs and soon to follow, business closures.
In the weeks since the Massachusetts state of emergency was declared, the Cape Cod Chamber has made a major tack, trimmed our sails, paused all regular programming, and set to work on reopening and recovery. None of us knows how distant that shore remains, but we are committed to helping our fellow Cape Codders navigate through to the other side.
We empathize with those who have chosen to protest publicly a reopening process they deem untenable, yet we MUST reopen in a manner that will not roll us back into lock-down again. One case of Covid-19 that is traceable to a restaurant, hotel, attraction, or any other entity on the Cape can undo all of our efforts.
Cape Cod must be viewed as a place to live and visit that is healthy and safe. We have used our voice with the state to advance regional equity, attain reopening for limited seasonal businesses, adopt an approach to innovation and flexibility in community-building with initiatives like shared streets to expand outdoor dining, ABCC waivers and rapid-response childcare supports. We daily add our voice to national platforms to increase and amend Federal business relief programs, to stimulate travel, and to create a Federal backstop for pandemic risk insurance, among other policies.
Moving forward, we support a swift return to normal and are continually working to that end. This will not be easy: there is much yet to be safely enabled such as:
- weddings, meetings and group travel which are currently booked and represent millions of dollars of business
- restoring marine science lab and research work and ways to safely send people to sea
- consistent operating protocols from the authorities issued as far in advance as possible
- medical advisories to help businesses understand how the workplace protocols promote wellness (e.g. the distance between people who are in close proximity for more than 10 minutes.)
We need every individual to take personal responsibility for following the best available medical advice until a vaccine is found, to protect our businesses, our residents and our visitors: using masks or other appropriate face coverings, washing hands frequently, social distancing, and frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in businesses and homes.
We salute everyone who has observed the sometimes-inconvenient guidelines throughout this time and thank you for your patience. As we reopen, we urge you not let your guard down. This is our peak season and many, many travelers are eager to visit us: let us welcome them and enjoy their company, SAFELY!