Page 9 - BusinessWest February 17, 2021
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 ity changes, and, as noted, honed new ways to do business in the long term, what they don’t like is sudden change, like what happened in Amherst and Hadley last week.
On Feb. 8 — the morning the 40% capacity change went into effect state- wide — the Amherst Board of Health issued an emergency order that will continue the 25% limit in town, as well as an early-closing order, due to an outbreak of COVID-19 on the UMass Amherst campus that, at press time, had risen to 540 cases. The town of Hadley followed, also keeping capacity levels at 25%.
“This is not the direction that we, as a town, nor our businesses, want to go, but it is imperative that the town take decisive action immediately to address this increase in cases,” Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman said.
Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Com- merce, which has members in both
“I have to give our business community a lot of credit because when sector-specific protocols came out, and everyone needed to sanitize all these things to keep people safe, they stepped up to the plate, and did that at a lot of expense to themselves. They deserve a lot of credit.”
towns, said some businesses chose to close completely for two weeks, either for safety or because UMass students are quarantined to their rooms for the time being, cutting off a supply of cus- tomers and, in many cases, employees.
“They’re crushed. They were finally opening at 40%,” Pazmany said, add- ing that some businesses consider the move unfair, especially the ones that have a strong track record in safety, sanitization, and keeping exposure down over the past year.
“As a chamber, we’re so concerned for everyone’s safety, and a lot of busi- nesses are choosing to close tempo- rarily for the safety of their staff,” she added. “Personally, I don’t want to see anyone struggling, but we want to keep the safety of businesses and the com- munity paramount. It’s tricky; it’s such a layered issue.”
Even as the extension order went down, Amherst Public Health Direc- tor Emma Dragon emphasized that “it is in the interest of the health of our
to home for each individual; at the end of the day, it’s all about their jobs and our business functioning, and people are responsible for doing
follow those key public-health proto- cols of wearing a mask, washing hands, and maintaining social distance.”
This is something that hits close
Doing Their Part
Mention those tips to many busi- ness owners, and they’ll say they’ve been insisting on all that — and much more — from the beginning. “The big- gest thing, early on, was the uncer- tainty, not knowing how the surge was going to affect us,” said Dr. K. Francis Lee, owner of Advanced Vein Care Cen- ter in Springfield.
But there are lessons, he says, in how his office responded to the pan- demic — and continue to respond —
Continued on page 65
their part.
 entire community that we continue the restrictions that are currently in place. Never has it been more important to
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