Main Street retail businesses languish; more jobs at risk

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce warns online and curbside sales won’t be enough to keep many retail businesses alive. 

“Most businesses say they can only make it a couple of months if they’re in a retail space,” said Neil Bradley, the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

Bradley says losing those Main Street businesses means losing more jobs—even when stores do reopen. 

“It’s not going to look like … what it did before the pandemic,” he said. “We’re going to have things like occupancy limits.” 

Some of the nation’s top health experts told lawmakers the war against COVID-19 is just beginning and the best way to save the economy is by containing its spread. 

Dr. Caitlin Rivers of Johns Hopkins says the U.S. still has 25-30,000 new cases each day. 

“We risk complacency in accepting the preventable deaths of 2,000 Americans each day,” Rivers said. 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is one of the people making the tough state-level decisions. 

“Non-essential retail, I hear it morning noon and night—I appreciate all that—but with all due respect, this is the fight of our lives,” Murphy said. 

Bradley says retailers understand the importance of safety when they do reopen but that businesses need more clear and consistent guidance on safety measures. 

“Every state and locality has its own slightly different version of the things employees and customers ought to do,” he said. 

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