The COVID pandemic is widening the gap between independent businesspeople struggling to make ends meet, support their families, and communities. In America, it has been the right of individuals, just like you and me to risk it all and dare to operate a business to answer the call on our lives and to set ourselves apart from the status quo.
We do this because we love our communities and believe that we have a purpose, mission, passion, and message to deliver and that by answering the call, we can have a more fulfilling life, and make the world a little better place.
As a business consultant serving the Pacific Northwest, primarily in Washington State, I have been working non-stop in 2020 to try to help my clients survive the pandemic and the shutdown of “non-essential” business in Washington State. And we are finding ways to change the way business is approached in order to make it through the lockdown.
Not all independent or family businesses are faring as well. We were told we would be shut down for two weeks, then two months, then they let us open under modified restrictions, only to be shut down again.
Many businesses are being shut down as the result of the Governor’s mandates, and frankly, are unable to weather the storm of paying the expenses to retain their businesses while they wait for the State’s permission to resume their operations. These businesses are closing in droves, and the loss is incalculable, as they will never reopen again.
We are talking about people who have invested their life’s savings, this is their life, their calling, their purpose in this life, all gone in a heartbeat.
I am not talking about conspiracy theories, I am talking about real people, like you and me, who are doing everything they can to support their families, who support the community, and have other families who depend on them for jobs to support their families.
Some businesspeople are risking it all and making their last stand. Some businesses are opening and operating while following pandemic guidelines, like masking and social distancing in an effort to survive the Governor’s pandemic shutdown.
In doing so, they risk being fined $9,639 per day for every day they are open, violating the Governor’s mandatory shutdown of non-essential businesses in Washington State. Regardless, these people are forging forward with courage, knowing they will face exorbitant fines and potential jail time.
Several businesses, like Spiffy’s in my hometown, are making such a stand. Boldly, yet honorably and respectfully, defying the Governor’s order to shut down, which would result in their forfeiting their life’s work.
To them, this is “do or die.” If they are able to stay open enough to weather the storm, they will have something to look forward to when the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
If they are able to survive being forced not to operate, but still pay the ongoing expenses associated with retaining their right to operate a business at some point in the future, then okay. But who has the financial resources to finance such an operation? Not most small businesses, especially those who operate on small margins. They are losing their leases, tearfully saying “goodbye” to their employees who feel like family, filing bankruptcy, and they are gone forever.
If the State physically removes them from their businesses, puts them in jail, and seizes their property, they have lost it all.
So, in a way, it justifies taking the chance to defy the man and try to save your business, because you will lose your business either way, though there is a chance, that if you are respectfully defiant and you plead for forgiveness or claim your constitutional rights, the system may look the other way, and honor your right to live a life of liberty in the United States of America.
And if they seize you, your business, and your assets? Well, you still will have lost it all, knowing that you did everything you could for your family, the people who are depending on you for their livelihood, and your respect for your community.
If you end up spending a portion, or the rest, of your life in jail for fighting for your right to be true to yourself and to those who are dependent on you for their lives, you can do so with a clean conscious, even though you will shake your head, and think to yourself,
How could we let ourselves let our world turn into a place, like this?
We are doing everything we can to survive this pandemic.
God bless you for your efforts to do so as well, however you decide to approach a solution to these most unprecedented times of this generation.