EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) — Many businesses are struggling upon returning from a long closing due to the coronavirus pandemic, and now they are trying to find masks for their employees. The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce is lending a helpful hand.
The Kansas Department of Emergency Management has donated 30,000 masks to the Chamber to pass out to businesses, and many are taking advantage of it. Without the help, many businesses face the threat of having to close their doors for good.
“If one of my employees gets the coronavirus I have to shut down, and we’ve already shut down once this year and we can’t afford to do it again,” Janet Laird, owner of Commercial St. Diner in Emporia, said. “So bottom line that’s why we’re going to require masks, for our employees and it’s for the safety of our customers.”
It hasn’t been easy finding masks for all her staff, Laird said, but with the help of the Chamber, the diner’s employees and customers are more protected.
“It’s awesome,” Laird said. “It takes a load off…that we’ll be able to use those.”
Jeanine McKenna, President and CEO of the Chamber, said that providing masks for local businesses is one way to keep them open.
“We want our businesses to stay open, we want them to thrive, and if we could provide these masks to them, this is one way to help keep them open,” McKenna said.
The chamber began passing out masks early this week and will continue to distribute them until they are gone. There are currently approximately 15,000 masks remaining, McKenna said.