Westfield business owners gathered to discuss challenges of town’s economy impacted by COVID-19

Hampden County

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Business owners gathered with the Westfield Chamber of Commerce Friday morning for breakfast eager to discuss the challenges facing the town’s economy under COVID-19.

They voiced their concerns and top priorities as we enter the fall still in the midst of the pandemic. Some called for more aid from local and federal governments. Others said they were wary of further assistance, concerned that payments now could create even harder financial circumstances in the future.

“I’m concerned passing out loans would build a bigger pile of money that I still need to pay back. So I’m avoiding that. We’re evolving. Were trying to do drive-in movies, drive-in concerts… Things like that allow us to make a few bucks to survive,” Owner of JPS Lighting and Sound, Jay Pagluica said.

Pagluica said he is lucky to have had a second job throughout this downturn but as he looks to retire and build his lighting and sound business he is concerned about the future.

Congressman Richard Neal attended the Westfield Chamber breakfast listening the the concerns of local business owners.

22News asked Neal about the prospects for another round of federal aid for American institutions and businesses. He shared his hopes for a second package and the likelihood that it happens.

“I think it’s clear we’re going to need another round of stimulus, economic growth remains tepid, just as importantly I think our hospitals are going to need more assistance and there is going to need to be more unemployment insurance with 31 million Americans now receiving unemployment benefits.”

Congressman Richard Neal

Congressman Neal also told 22News right now, the stimulus package is held up by politics. He said the democrats have already compromised, taking one trillion dollars out of their proposed package.

Now, they are waiting for republicans to compromise to meet in the middle hoping they add about a trillion dollars to their proposal.

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