BOSTON (CBS) – Jon Hurst, the president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, said up to 30% of member small businesses say they may not reopen due to coronavirus shutdowns.
Hurst told WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller that he disagrees with the state’s reopening plan that still does not allow retail stores considered non-essential to welcome customers back in person in any capacity.
The association president recently called the decision “incredibly unfair and disappointing.”
“It was arbitrary. It really wasn’t scientific,” said Hurst. “We can’t understand why we’re continually No. 1 the last state in the nation for retail flexibility, but No. 2 why is it safe that you and I can go get our haircut right now with absolutely no social distancing, you can go into a church with 40% occupancy, you can go into an office building with 25% occupancy, but you can’t go into a retail store even with that limited type of occupancy.”
Keller @ Large: Part 2
There are about 4,000 businesses in the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. Hurst said he mostly worries about the “mom and pop” stores in the state.
“They have no income, they’re forced by government to not serve their customers. About 30 percent of them say they are somewhat to extremely unlikely to ever reopen again,” Hurst said.
Hurst said he believes retail stores will be able to open at a percentage during Phase 2, though no date has been given.
“A mall, quite frankly consumers aren’t going to come streaming back into a mall on Day 1. This is going to be a step-by-step process,” said Hurst.
“We have to start being more balanced looking at yes, protecting the vulnerable, but making sure our economy can come back.”