City, state leaders ask business owners to allow employees to continue working from home

BOSTON — Small and big businesses across the state and nation are itching to get back to work, as the financial loss is felt everywhere.

State leaders are asking business owners to allow employees to continue working from home, if possible, so they aren’t doing the everyday things like taking up space on public transportation, where you are at risk of getting coronavirus.

The painful signs of closing or out of business are seen everywhere. Some owners couldn’t survive and they had to close up shop before the reopening process for Phase 1 and 2. Other businesses have opened or are getting ready to reopen.

Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy is asking businesses to help follow the plan.

“If businesses are able, we strongly encourage you to have your employees continue to work from home,” said Kennealy.

City and state leaders are asking employers to work from home to help stop the spread of the infection rate, especially in public places.

“Reducing the number of employees in the workplace reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission and will help reduce the number of employees that need to utilize public transit and child care,” said Kennealy.

For one large company, Mass Mutual, who has at least 500 employees working in Boston, the CEO Roger Crandall told the Boston Business Journal: “An important thing MassMutual can do in Boston, is not have our people taking space (on the T) from people who need to go to their workplace to get paid and have their companies function.”

Another large employer in Boston, Liberty Mutual Insurance, said their employees will continue to work from home for a while longer.

“The majority of our employees will continue to work virtually throughout the summer. We’ll be taking a phased approach in re-opening our offices,” said Melanie Foley, executive vice president and Chief Talent and Enterprise Services Officer for Liberty Mutual.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh applauded both of those businesses during Tuesday’s news conference. He also said businesses have to understand that some workers are in a high-risk health category.

“People that are older and might not want to come to work, I’m going to ask those companies right now, don’t force people to come to work,” Walsh said.

As the phased reopenings are spread apart, some employers say they will try to get more staff to get back to work by Labor Day.

“We are seeing it in the strain in businesses, not being able to pay their rent, not being able to pay their mortgages. I’m concerned about businesses going out of business,” Walsh said.

The bottom line is, city and state leaders say, we have to get it right, because no one can afford a second shut down.

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