We must save small businesses

June 3, 2020 | G. Michael Dobbs

I’d like to continue with the Christmas metaphor when it comes to our reopening. Bear with me.

Did you ever remember a Christmas when the present you really, really wanted was missing a part? Or didn’t quite work right?

That is what is going on with the reopening of small businesses under the current Phase One and half. They are open but they are not open.

I’ve made it clear in past columns I’m all about safety and caution. I think fairness should come into play, though at this time.

During the pandemic, we’ve had a number of businesses deemed essential remains open under various restrictions. That’s fine. Those restrictions have certainly made an impact on those companies.

A far greater impact has been made on small businesses that have not been deemed essential. Unless they can accommodate sales through a website, they have been shuttered.

The current “reopening” plan of allowing non-essential businesses to start doing business as long as it’s a phone or web order with either curbside delivery or shipping is undoubtedly cautious but in my humble opinion is too cautious.

Apply the conventions mask-wearing, social distancing, hand sanitizers and traffic flow to non-essential businesses as they have been applied to other businesses. Restricting the number of people in a store is another step in a reopening plan. It’s being done now with essential businesses.

I’m not one of these “patriots” – they are not – seeking to force a “liberation” of the commonwealth as seen in other states – although come to think of it we have seen some home-grown Trump flag swinging types here. I’m simply concerned that at this point safety precautions should have been applied to all businesses.

There are some business owners who have expressed personal concern because of health conditions and are planning to continue a remote sales plan. I support their decision as everyone needs to feel as safe as possible at these times.

If business owners are given a set of safety measures as I detailed above and they adhere to them, why shouldn’t they be open as much as an essential business?

Small businesses are the backbone of this country. It may sound like a cliché, but it is the truth. While the governor and his staff have walked a fine line very well, this time I think they missed the mark.

I cannot believe the depths in which this nation finds itself. It’s bad enough we are teetering on the verge of a depression. It’s bad enough that 100,000 people have died from a disease that will kill more. It’s bad enough the plight of the Navajo has been largely ignored as the virus runs through their nation.

If I want to get thoroughly depressed all I have to do is look at my Facebook feed.

I just saw a post of a historic photo of a group of Jews being rounded up by Nazis. The poster wrote, “They are about to start passing out masks.”


I also saw a post that was “researched” to indicate that billionaire George Soros who contributes to left of center causes might be behind the murder of George Floyd as a means to stir up anti-Trump sentiment.

What in the name of all that is holy is wrong with you people? Wearing a mask so you don’t spread a contagion and may prevent you getting the disease is like wearing a seat belt. Is wearing a seat belt bowing down to a repressive regime?

Don’t the lives of your fellow Americans that have been lost to the virus mean anything to you?

And where is the evidence that anyone other than the four fired cops were responsible for the murder of an unarmed man who, by the surveillance footage now released, was not resisting arrest?

There is no excuse for conjuring up Nazi comparison because of a public health measure. There is no excuse for seeking a conspiracy about the murder of George Floyd.

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