How can small business owners even think about working, protesting, or even leaving their house?

This is my reaction to everyone telling everyone else to stay at home. I assume you must be very comfortable financially and clueless with what a “non essential worker” and/or small business owner is going through right now. They have bigger fears than Covid 19.

Unless someone owns a business or knows someone closely that owns one they will never get it. They cannot realize that owning a business is not just part of your life, IT IS YOUR LIFE! Many small business owners have it like this:

No paid vacations, no health insurance, no sick days paid, no severance pay, no unemployment insurance, no IRA, no income if you don’t work-period! But you have a reputation, clients, debt, and plenty of bills without a safety net to fall back on. Typically a small business owner wakes up and gives it all they have until they lay down, every day, year after year. If they have employees they worry about them constantly and in many cases treat them as family. Their everyday routine and income has been taken from them since the “slow the spread” has began.

We were declared “essential” and thankfully our business was never shut down. Our service falls under “sanitation” was therefore deemed necessary from the beginning of the shutdown/lockdown.

Looking back to the start of this crisis beginning in mid March I know that we were all scared. However since our crew cleans mainly “essential services” (banks, auto shops, medical facilities) we were able to keep cleaning. We had to immediately reconfigure our office space so that every administrative employee could have their own room-thankfully a task we were able to achieve easily. We decided for that first 2 weeks we would postpone all day work; no maids services, window washing, carpet cleaning, vacancy cleaning. Our day workers day to day lives came to an abrupt STOP. Our nighttime workers were all grateful to be able to work. I am sure they were scared and felt as though they were risking their lives but they needed and wanted to work.

Usually when people don’t work they don’t get paid. With no day work on the calendar we thought day workers would need to be laid off? For how long? But wait, what’s this? The government passes CARE ACT that incudes a (PPP) paycheck protection program, and another EIDLE economic injury disaster loan advance. We applied day 1.

My husband and I could hardly believe it but on Tuesday morning of April 21st we received a deposit from the US Treasury for 10,000; the first part of the government assistant to small businesses, EIDL. The 2nd round for the paycheck protection program opened today (April 27th) and so we will wait to see any more aid comes from that.
EDIT: We received a substantial amount of money to cover our entire crew, no one went on unemployment. A couple of employees took off for the CARES ACT but our crew banned together & we covered all the work.

The weekend before the slow the spread 2 weeks was imposed on our country I had 2 people in my immediate family get admitted to the hospital-my mother, and my daughter. At first we could see our 21 yr old daughter but after 4 days in the ER St. Joe’s hospital (and the entire nation) went on lockdown. Back in Chicago my mother ended up in an ER the same weekend. My mother was in the ICU and septic, and nobody from our family could visit her. This was a living nightmare for our family for nearly a month with my mom. Finally after 4 weeks of hospital and rehab my mother was released and is doing great, and our daughter has recovered also.

Having a person you love in the hospital and not being able to see them when they need you the most is agonizing and infuriating. I do not know the solution for this, but it is something you should all be considering because I am sure that we do not want to see our hospitals say NO VISITORS forever.

The thing is our business never stopped working. As far as Covid goes we believe at least one of our crew members may have had it back in December, but as of now we do not know for sure. What we do know is that we have continued working through this “pandemic” and have all survived. Not one of our 38 employees have been diagnosed Covid as of today and we continue to pray that they do not. My husband and I were in and out of the ER room back in Humboldt county’s height of Covid cases, which I believe was 28 at most? When we were hanging out in the ER we had resolved that we just might get Covid, but were were willing to take that risk to be with our daughter. We made sure to quarantine ourselves and saw no one for those first 3 weeks after that. We had no masks at the time and neither did the staff in the ER wear them.

I hope you can see from my journey so far why I am not afraid of Covid and I totally understand why people are protesting. I hope I have made my point well enough for you to consider what exactly has been asked of the small business owner that has been deemed “non essential?”

How do you like some of those drunk on power governors telling Americans in Michigan and other states what “essentials” you may and may not purchase? I hope that nonsense has ended?

For the last 2 weeks here in Humboldt county we have had several days in a row with no new cases. And yet I still see people getting so AGRO about staying at home? We have had 52 cases in total and yet flights come in from LA and SAN FRAN all the time so when will it really stop? How long will the fear go on? Does anyone think we will ever be sterile enough?

We just received a a new commercial that was created for us by a media company that will be played soon on the radio. The original ending said something about “so do your part and stay at home!” We did not like that and had it removed. If I am afraid, I will stay home, but I will not ask you to stay home because I cannot imagine demanding others do anything, much less demand they lose their businesses because I am afraid?!

Businesses and “non essential workers” (I despise those words) on lockdown in America after 5 weeks over Covid 19 fears and deaths is literally causing people to descend into poverty. Asking people to stay safe at home because you are afraid and comfortable while they wait, and wait, and wait, because they cannot work is asking too much.

2014 NPR interview discussing government power quarantining people against their will.