There have certainly been many casualties during the pandemic — loss of life, loss of jobs, and so much more. But small business providers and communities have also been directly impacted by the loss of many vital stores, restaurants, and of service providers. In my own community, I had a favorite restaurant that I frequented several times a week over the past 25 years (kind of like my Cheers) called Hobees. It did not survive. Likewise, another favorite local restaurant of my family’s for decades, Mandarin Gourmet, is calling it quits after almost 28 years when their lease expires later this month. My hairdresser of nearly 35 years decided to throw in the towel and retire after the stops and starts of salons being closed, allowed to re-open, and then being shut down again. And my pet sitter’s business was decimated overnight when the shelter in place order came down and everyone stayed home. There are so many similar stories in communities all over the country (and the world!), and it’s a reminder of how much we’ve come to rely on small businesses and service providers.
Sometimes it goes beyond what we can do due to prevailing circumstances, however I believe that we must do everything we can to support and protect these folks from closing shop. In the case of many restaurants they’ve been surviving on take-out business and limited outdoor seating — hopefully we’ll get a handle on the pandemic with an initial vaccine that allows these businesses to operate indoors again (even with social distancing and limited seating) once the cold weather returns — and mitigate the potential loss that may otherwise force more of them to shutter permanently.