We were lucky. We got Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) money in the first round, largely due to working with a great local banker who went out of his way with us and with several businesses in the area to ensure they were taken care of.
The PPP was a half-assed, thrown-together, quick Band-Aid for American businesses, created by the government, that everyone from the Small Business Administration to local bankers to those it was supposed to help could see was flawed.
The government threw something together because they were worried about the economy and wanted business owners to keep their employees employed. We saw it as an eight-week, ride-this-thing-out-and-pray-we-are-out-of-the-other-end-with-either-an-open-economy-or-a-new-government-plan plan that was going to help the many businesses affected by government-issued shutdowns to not go bankrupt.
Neither has come to the forefront, and now, with first round PPP money set to go away in just a few weeks, many business owners are in the same place they were eight weeks ago. We are scratching our heads and trying to figure out how to survive. Unless something changes, PPP amounted to a very expensive way for us to prolong the inevitable.
We are in the media business, so I am not looking at the economy from an uninformed and scared business sense. I have read the many reports, watched the press conferences by the governor and local health officials, and know that just opening the floodgates right now would be a public health disaster. I am not rooting for mass public death in favor of a flawed dream of a revived local economy. That is a terrible idea.
With that said, I feel for the many business owners pushing for opening things up. They are scared. We are, too. Many of them have poured their hearts, souls, and thousands of dollars into their businesses. They don’t want to see something out of their control take that American dream away. I don’t want that to happen to us, either.
Truth is, our business is down about 40 percent from the start of the COVID-19 shutdowns. Event advertising, retail, help wanted, and restaurant business is mostly gone. We have tried to be creative, too. We haven’t sat on our hands and tried to wait this out, but nothing, despite how creative we have gotten, has come close to replacing the lost revenue. We also have kept all our employees on thus far, just like they asked with the PPP.
And the crazy thing is we are lucky compared to the countless business owners reading this, saying to themselves that they would kill for revenue to be 40 percent down. A lot of folks haven’t seen one cent in two months.
I say everything above to help folks reading this know that I am pro-business AND pro-health. These things shouldn’t even be considered against each other. Unfortunately, the virus has been politicized, and with that has come a rift of folks who are either pro-opening up or pro-public health, with no in between.
Here is the truth people refuse to bring up: the government has completely failed all of us. That is the plain and simple truth. They shut businesses down in the name of public health, and that was the right move, but they refused to do enough to make sure business owners, laid off workers, and everyone affected was taken care of due to their decisions.
If they want people to care about public health and others, they first must make sure those same people can feed themselves and their children. That is simple Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs stuff right there. It doesn’t take a genius to know that people would break rules, use politics to justify it, and attempt to make money in the face of the orders to make sure they don’t lose everything.
Unlike what most people say, they aren’t monsters who hate their neighbors and want them to get sick. They are just as scared as you are, but they are scared because they see everything going away with no lifeline to be heard of.
This is unacceptable!
Unemployment checks took six to eight weeks, some longer, to get to affected employees and the self employed. Our antiquated system, set up to keep people from applying for benefits, hurt everyone and forced many of these folks’ hands.
Speaking just from our standpoint, our business is not only down, but we’re experiencing mixed results on getting receivables on what we are billing in a timely manner. It’s hard to say exactly how tough the next few months are going to be, and the government is nowhere to be seen.
I was supposed to be OK. PPP was supposed to make sure we had a business after all of this. There is no guarantee of that at all. How long will it take for things to bounce back? Does anyone know?
Even if the economy completely opens up, despite health officials’ concerns, that doesn’t mean people will go out to public places and spend money.
If people are afraid they are going to get sick, there is no guarantee anything will happen, even if every business opens with no restrictions.
I know plenty of folks who haven’t eaten inside a restaurant, despite them being open now. Just because those restaurants have opened doesn’t mean they are seeing customers at a sustainable level to keep employees on payroll and pay themselves.
People don’t feel safe in America. I am not saying they should, either. Even though masks are shown to be effective if most of the population wears them in public, it doesn’t mean people are going to feel safe or wear the stupid mask.
Where is the federal government in this? Your people are suffering. They are scared. They want answers, and they want them in manner that isn’t just to forward your politics, too.
This government, left and right, has failed us. So, instead of fighting your neighbors about whether we should open the economy or not, flood your legislators’ phones and mail. Tell them you expect them to respond and do so quickly. This current situation isn’t going to cut it. We are supposed to be one of the most developed countries in the world. We certainly aren’t acting like it. Fix it.