The Thurston County Chamber of Commerce said it is eager to see local businesses prosper again. However, it said the recent increase in COVID-19 cases threatens to short-circuit the recovery effort.

In a new statement released by the Chamber, it asks all businesses and community members to follow the CDC and local health officials’ guidelines and wear masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“Face masks control the spread of COVID-19,” David Schaffert, President and CEO of the Chamber, said in a news release. “If COVID-19 spreads, it will result in more illness and deaths. An increase in illnesses will force additional stay at home restrictions and new closures.”

Additionally, another round of closures may destroy small businesses, eliminate jobs, and significantly harm the economy, Kevin Stormans, owner of Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway and member of the Chamber’s Board of Trustees, said.

“Wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining social distance when you go out will keep employees, neighbors, and family members safe and healthy,” Stormans said in a release.

Schaffert said wearing a face mask will directly ensure that businesses continue to stay open.

“The track record of other cities demonstrates that coronavirus spread can be mitigated — and businesses can remain open —where masks and social distancing have been widely accepted. We have every reason to expect a similar effort here would be successful, too,” he said in a release.