The Klamath County Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee voted unanimously in support of a group of local business owners that have made the tough decision to save their businesses, their livelihoods, and the jobs of their employees by reopening, as long as they follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines to keep their customers and their employees safe.   This support comes in response to several local business owners making the decision to reopen while responsibly following the CDC guidelines. “These business owners have informed us that not one of the more than 2,000 positive cases in Klamath County have been traced to their businesses,” says Chamber President Rich Schuster, “The Chamber supports a business’s right to reopen as long as they are doing so responsibly and following health and safety protocols to protect their customers and employees.”

“These business owners are not acting out of defiance, they are acting out of desperation,” said Chamber Government Affairs Chair Joe Spendolini. “These owners are close to losing everything they’ve worked hard for their entire lives, through no fault of their own. They are making the tough decision to reopen to save their business and livelihood, but they are doing so responsibly and are following all CDC guidelines and recommendations.”

Those guidelines can be found here:

The Chamber also urges state and local governments to support businesses who act responsibly to be able to survive.  The Chamber encourages public officials in Bonanza, Chiloquin, Klamath Falls, Malin and Klamath County to join with the city council of Merrill in their support of business owners in their plight and provide them with the tools, resources, and latitude to make responsible decisions in opening their businesses following CDC and Public Health guidelines. The business shutdowns have created a hardship on businesses, their employees, and caused harm to the overall economic viability of our entire community. “Our mission at the Chamber is to create stronger communities within Klamath County and one way to do that is through a stronger economy. Being able to work and support your family is key to health and success,” said Chamber Director Heather Tramp, “Our Board recognizes the health concerns with the virus but urges public officials to think of the health aspects of the shutdowns too. We are convinced that these businesses are taking a reasonable, responsible approach.”

“We are a business organization focused on creating a more business friendly environment so that our business owners can employ people who can turn around and feed and support their families, and the families of those they employ” Chamber Board President Rich Schuster said. “We need to follow the science and to date, data shows that businesses can provide customers with resources] and their employees with jobs while being successful partners in our efforts to protect our community from current health concerns,” he added. Since March 2020, the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce has been a resource center for local businesses as they navigate the difficulties and challenges from the COVID mandates and guidelines. The Chamber staff, board, and volunteers have visited with countless business owners as they work to understand the ever changing guidelines and attempt to make the decision that is right for their business, the families the business supports, and the community. Local business owners care about our community and their customers and clients and since day one have taken extra precautions to keep their customers and clients safe.  “We believe that will continue,” said Schuster. The Chamber board wants to remind the business community that the Chamber is available as a resource.  We also support the rights and decisions of our members that choose to remain closed, until a date of their choosing for reopening. Entrepreneurs are responsible risk takers and we should do everything we can as a community to help them survive through these very difficult times. During our deliberations, Chamber Board member Paul Simmons offered this thought, “We all hear that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but that doesn’t matter if you don’t make it to the end of the tunnel.” Please join with us to help everyone in our community make it through this tunnel.