Make a pact to be kind, sympathetic and supportive to small business owners and workers


By Brittney Sherman

Brittney Sherman

From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand. From the inside looking out, it’s hard to explain. Today and for the months to come the words “pandemic,” “shelter in place” and “toilet paper” will be at the forefront of every conversation. Whether you are a business owner, employee or resident you are experiencing your own struggles and frustrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the globe.

As the owner of a family-owned restaurant, how do you operate on takeout and delivery orders alone? As a boutique retail shop owner, how do you shift to 100 percent of online orders to a financially stricken customer base? As an employee with zero warning before being laid off, how do you continue to cover your living expenses?

Although these seem like desperate times, there are resources available to you if you know where to look:

Business Owners have access to SBA Disaster Relief Loans, CalCAP, support from the Small Business Finance Center, income tax payment extensions until June 15, utilization of the UI Work Share Program and the EDD’s Rapid Response Services.

Employees have been given a waiver for the one-week unpaid waiting period for unemployment and disability insurance, an extension on the state tax filing deadline to June 15 and approval of Paid Family Leave Claims for those caring for COVID-19 contracted family members.

In addition, many grocery giants such as Safeway and Amazon are hiring employees by the hundreds to keep up with the growing customer demands. PG&E has implemented a moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment for both residential and commercial customers alike and will offer the most flexible pay plans available.

I anticipate more moratoriums to follow suit in the days to come.

Although it’s hard to wrap our heads around it, this time is an opportunity to research new ideas, expand our industry knowledge and develop a recovery plan so that when the time for economic revival comes we meet it fully prepared.

It’s all too hard to understand the struggles of a business owner when you aren’t one, hard to sympathize with the impact of being laid off when your employment is stable. So let’s make a pact to be kind, sympathetic and supportive. In the words of the Persian adage: “This too shall pass.”