Associated Industries of Missouri clarifies goal of survey
In April, Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) conducted an informal survey of our business members so we could learn from Missouri businesses which protective measures would work in the members' workplaces and be most effective and feasible in preventing infections.
Although many of the businesses were closed and many of the respondents were working from home, we received a very good response to the survey. Some businesses stated certain protective measures, like masks, would be a good practice for them, while others stated that such measures would be unfeasible/unsafe for their industry and other methods, like social distancing, were more feasible. AIM shared the results of the survey with the Governor and published the results in an article on our website. We also included a link to the article in our daily newsletter.
After sharing the results with Governor Parson, AIM President and CEO Ray McCarty joined Governor Mike Parson for a press conference regarding the first phase of re-opening Missouri.
Recently, a widely circulated Associated Press (AP) article containing no new information was widely published by newspapers across the state. The article noted AIM’s survey had been delivered prior to the announcement of the reopening plan by Governor Parson. The implication was that governors across the U.S. had allowed businesses to reopen too early, or without sufficient protections. We disagree with that premise.
As we told the AP reporter that interviewed us for the article, the goal of the survey and sending the results to Governor Parson was not to hasten the reopening date for Missouri businesses, but to share workable solutions with the Governor - solutions businesses could provide to make reopening safer for employees and customers. Our goal was to let everyone know business leaders endorsed instituting reasonable safety measures. It is also important to note we provided ALL feedback received to the Governor. The Governor subsequently issued the reopening orders in phases, and many of the suggestions made by businesses were included - measures such as requiring sick employees to stay home, encouraging frequent hand washing, wearing masks or face coverings where appropriate, and above all else, social distancing.
"The AP reporter asked during our interview if we thought Governor Parson's plan to reopen the state was premature," said McCarty. "We told the reporter we thought the leadership provided by Governor Parson in dealing with this pandemic, the likes of which nobody had seen in our lifetime, was outstanding. We also reiterated that businesses remain committed to providing as safe an environment for workers and customers as possible and we applauded Governor Parson's measured and reasonable approach to reopening. I am not shocked those statements did not make it into the final article. Perhaps it wasn't sensational enough for the press," said McCarty.
It is no secret that some people simply ignore safety precautions. Social gatherings, some of which are in clear violation of social distancing recommendations, and some in violation of local ordinances, continue to provide environments in which this contagious virus is spread. Despite our best efforts, the Governor and business leaders may only recommend safety precautions to people. People bear the bulk of the responsibility for implementing those measures.
Associated Industries of Missouri is committed to encouraging safety and helping stop the spread of COVID-19. We encourage all business to complete and follow-through with the Show Me Strong pledge, which you can learn more about here. The pledge is another way Governor Parson and his staff are encouraging businesses and the public to help stop the spread of COVID-19.