While the Trump Administration and Republican enablers in Congress pretend that the 2020 election results are not clear, COVID cases are surging, cities and states are working to contain the virus, and small business owners are left wondering what comes next for them.
As more states lock down and restrict in person gatherings to protect public health, there is no federal support in sight - not for small businesses who now face closure, not for the unemployed who will face food lines and evictions, and not for the states and cities that need the resources to support their residents and get the virus under control. We need a plan that supports all three to get the economy back on track.
Not only have Senate Republicans failed to take up any meaningful financial relief package, they are also obstructing any meaningful planning by the incoming administration by withholding transition funds, and refusing to give them access to CDC vaccine distribution plans. In effect, they are pushing small businesses and the American people to the brink of economic collapse, to coddle election conspiracy theories.
“People are exhausted from the pandemic and election and are sick of Republican leadership playing politics with the Biden transition team. We should be able to expect more from our leadership than that. Small business owners and unemployed workers are struggling this holiday season and it's time for Congress to get to work on a recovery package. We deserve to be able to have faith in our government during a time like this,” said Main Street Alliance Executive Director Amanda Ballantyne.
States and localities need resources to make responsible public health decisions. Small businesses cannot take on all the economic risk, the federal government must step in. A widely available vaccine is still many months off.
“Additional support is urgent,” said Kelly Conklin, owner of Foley Waite LLC in New Jersey and Main Street Alliance Board President. “My home state Senator Booker’s RELIEF Act, included in HEROES, would give states and localities the resources they need to make both the right public health decisions, while being able to to support their residents and small businesses. Right now, states making the tough, public health choices are being penalized while economic destruction ravages cities and towns across the country.”
At minimum there needs to be national health and safety standards, and support for small businesses to meet them - to buy protective equipment and continue running at reduced capacity if needed. A second round of PPP would be a great help, but must contain the grants and fixes in the HEROES Act to address the inequalities of the first round.
“In Iowa we saw our economy crumble even though we never shut down. Getting the virus under control is what helps the economy. But we need to support our small businesses and residents through the crisis,” said ReShonda Young, co-founder of Bank of Jabez in Iowa and Main Street Alliance Board member. “But it will take more than just a second round. I saw personally the inequities of accessing the PPP program and we must make sure a second round can reach those who need it most.”