The CBIA and a dozen other organizations are calling for a $70 million state grant program to help small businesses struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. I fully support setting aside funds to assist our small businesses during the pandemic. In fact, I would argue we need to do more than just provide financial support.
We will be living with COVID-19 for a long time, certainly through 2021. The impact most likely will involve moving between different stages of opening and closure with fluctuating numbers of people allowed to gather indoors. We need to work with our small businesses to adjust their business models accordingly so they too can shift between different means of delivery of services or production or even manufacturing based on restrictions.
For example, chain stores discovered that curbside delivery, as reported in The New York Times, “ has…emerged as many retailers’ best strategy for long-term survival in the e-commerce age. And what started as a coronavirus stopgap is likely to have a permanent impact on the way people shop, along with giving them a new reason to continue to visit beleaguered physical stores.”
While curbside may be a challenge for smaller retailers, we can help create an infrastructure that would allow stores on Main Street to collaborate on a curbside option for consumers.
We could similarly create a COVID consumer confidence initiative that identifies retail, restaurants, gyms, etc. as “safe spaces”, meaning they have been inspected and approved as following COVID-19 benchmarks or protocol.
We also need to pass a public option for health insurance so businesses can lower the cost of providing coverage and free up funds to reinvest. We need to lower the cost of electricity in order to produce the same result.
We need to partner with the small business community to explore ways that we can help them continue to generate revenue throughout the pandemic in order to ensure their resiliency and sustainability that will outlast any short-lived loan program.
As the director of the FEED Center, I have a demonstrated track record of leveraging resources for maximum impact, following a lean startup model in business to adjust to changes in the market, and assisting workers and entrepreneurs gain a successful foothold in our economy. I look forward to applying the skills and knowledge gleaned from doing the work into policy solutions that will truly help our business community and their workforce weather the impact of the pandemic.
Editor’s Note: This is McCabe’s second political statement. Per the Easton Courier Political Campaign Publication Policies, candidates may submit two statements, explaining their positions.