To the Editor:
From a business perspective, these are extremely difficult times, and I believe that the business community needs specific direction(s) from the Governor going forward. Administrative regulations were implemented that, though initially may have made sense, were detrimental to most businesses, yet businesses accepted the Governor’s decision. After three-plus months, and the flattening of the curve, what is currently lacking is the answer to the following question: under what specific circumstances will these regulations be modified or completely lifted?
Let’s use restaurants as an example. To think that they can continue indefinitely with reduced seating is not practical. Simply stated, the economics is not there. Furthermore, outdoor seating is not viable in late fall or winter.
If I were a restaurant owner (thankfully I am not), I would ask for specific directions from the Governor as to what criteria need to be achieved in Maine to remove various regulations that are currently detrimental to my business’ future. At that point, I can then make the decision to go forward with my business or “stop the bleeding” and simply “pull the plug.” What a restaurant owner needs is a specific, concrete direction that is not coming from the administration at this time.
For discussion, let’s say the Governor is committed not to allow seating capacity in restaurants back to where it was prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 until we have an effective vaccine. At this point a business owner can then make a judgement call as to whether she/he should continue or “call it a day.” The problem today for Maine businesses is the “unknown,” and that is not a responsible way for government to function, nor is it fair to Maine businesses and their employees.
It is time for the Governor “to get off the dime” and provide the business community with a specific direction or directions she intends to implement once specific criteria(s) are met and assure the business community that she will “stand behind ” her decisions. Assuming this is done by the Governor, businesses may oppose her logic and decisions, yet the reality is that businesses can then make a decision about their future based on concrete facts. Currently that is not possible, and that is wrong and poor policy.