América’s small businesses are facing an existential crisis because of Donald Trump’s mismanagement of COVID-19.
Since the start of this pandemic, more than 400,000 U.S. small businesses have closed their doors. More than half of all small businesses say it will take more than six months to return to normal. Many will never fully recover, and more than a few have closed their doors for the last time.
Since January, President Trump has repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of COVID-19, undermined América’s top scientists and public health professionals, removed or contradicted guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for safe reopening of schools, businesses and local economies, and refused to accept any of the responsibility that comes with leadership.
In March of this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to deliver a $900 billion financial lifeline to state and local governments. Congressional leaders rightly recognized that local communities would be facing perilous budget shortfalls as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many family businesses can’t open if we can’t safely open our schools. Others can’t open if their employees don’t have the personal protective equipment they need to work safely. And very few businesses can last long without essential services including first responders and municipal workers who, among other things, ensure that our businesses are getting safe, clean drinking water out of their taps.
We cannot afford to wait for a new president in the Oval Office to get small businesses the support they need to weather this storm. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been calling on President Trump for weeks now to bring Congress together to stop this pandemic from harming, and ending, more of América’s small businesses.
We enthusiastically support this call.
Biden and Harris have also called for a complete overhaul of the Paycheck Protection Program to guarantee that every businesses with fewer than 50 employees can get relief, that small businesses — especially minority-owned businesses — can get needed funding quickly and easily, that support take the form of flexible grants — not loans — for true small businesses that have lost substantial revenue; and ensure the fraud and self-enrichment of big business that has taken place on Trump’s watch cannot continue.
We support these measures.
We are gravely concerned that leaders at the federal level do not understand the scope and scale of the challenges our communities are facing, and especially the tremendous burdens their inaction is placing on América’s small businesses. As mayors from communities all across América, we are asking the White House and Senate to restart negotiations, to deliver the help that our communities and our mom and pop businesses need to weather this storm.
This virus doesn’t distinguish between small businesses in red states or blue states. We have a duty to protect our citizens and our small businesses alike as we work to reopen our economies safely, and we intend to honor that. We know Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will do the same in the White House. They have our full support, our confidence and our votes. We believe they have earned yours too.
See the full list of 76 mayors here.
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