Chamber Seeks Predictability, Occupancy Level Increase in Phase 3
The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce is continuing to voice its concern regarding the state's reopening plan, which currently has all regions in Phase 2 but has not defined Phase 3 yet.
Executive Director Shiloh Burgess said that many local businesses are at a critical tipping point.
"Currently, we have over 3,000 individuals that are out of work." explained Burgess, "In Chelan and Douglas counties in the last decade, we grew the community's jobs by 6,709. Now we have half of that at risk. So it took us ten years to build those jobs and in ten months that's been eroded away."
The Governor's Office has begun engaging the Chamber on what Phase 3 should look like, and the Chamber recently released some suggestions.
The chamber is asking for a renewal of efforts to collaboratively develop a re-opening plan as well as a statewide school re-opening plan. It also suggests injecting money into Washington's unemployment insurance trust fund to ensure employers are not saddled with years of rising taxes. Additionally, the Chamber is pushing for relief or deferrals of property taxes for businesses impacted by the state's closures.
Burgess added that Phase 3 of the state's plan needs to include at least 50% occupancy for all businesses. She said it is critical to get occupancy levels to the point where businesses can be profitable while still keeping consumers safe.
A full copy of a letter the Chamber sent to Governor Inslee and legislative leadership can be found here.