Reopen Brainerd Lakes. Save our businesses. Save our communities.
To save our small businesses from closing their doors forever, the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce supports the immediate development of a plan to reopen Minnesota businesses with state-recommended public health and safety accommodations.
We believe businesses should be allowed to reopen by conscientiously enacting these measures in a way that makes sense for their customers, facilities and operations. Delaying action will cause irreversible economic devastation to our communities.
Candidly, here is the situation in the Brainerd Lakes Area and across the state. Through no fault of their own, many of our local businesses and nonprofit organizations have been devastated over the past month. Businesses are seriously considering closing their doors forever and are losing everything they have worked for.
The Chamber can no longer stay on the sidelines and turn a blind eye to the circumstances of our members.
Last Friday, our Board of Directors reached the conclusion that it’s not enough to only focus on business assistance and “buy local” messaging, as important as those activities are. We approved a new position and campaign called Reopen Brainerd Lakes, which attempts to mobilize the strength of our 1,000+ members and concerned citizens. We also have the added benefit of representing one of the most treasured communities in the state.
Because time has become a critical factor, our goal is to deliver a respectful message that the state government must hasten its development of health and safety protocols so that businesses can reopen in a cautious, methodical way. We believe these rules should be made in partnership with the business sectors and associations that know their operations best.
Our goal is to deliver a petition to Governor Walz, Senator Gazelka and our Lakes Area legislators on Friday, April 24, complete with real stories of hardship as well as local ideas to reopen safely.
The Chamber has endured a fair amount of criticism for taking this stance. We expected this, but we remain secure in our position. We are doing what we believe is right, speaking with kindness and conviction, and staying true to our values.
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:
Wouldn’t reopening businesses put people in danger?
We believe that it would be reckless and irresponsible to demand a complete reopening of the economy without proper safety protocols. We are simply advocating for the hastening of those guidelines.
Why is this campaign necessary right now? The state just allowed several businesses to reopen last week.
Time is of the essence. Many businesses and nonprofits won’t survive much longer without the ability to earn income again. These closures would cause irreversible damage to our communities, economy and quality of life. The state has yet to take small steps like allowing retailers to sell products curbside like restaurants are currently doing.
Is the Reopen Brainerd Lakes campaign politically motivated?
Absolutely not. We believe that Governor Walz has demonstrated outstanding leadership, but he wants and needs to hear perspectives from the Brainerd Lakes Area and other Greater Minnesota communities. The Chamber does not endorse, support or fund political candidates or parties. We advocate for business issues in a nonpartisan manner.
We hope this information provides clarity and confidence in the Chamber’s position. Please consider signing our Reopen Brainerd Lakes petition or joining our Facebook group. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Chamber president Matt Kilian by email at Matt@BrainerdLakesChamber.com or by calling, 320-267-1756.