On a day when Illinoisans should be celebrating with joy, festivities, and excitement the state’s 202nd birthday as part of the Union, Illinoisans are rather mourning the loss of many small businesses. Since the start of COVID-19, Illinois has lost over 11,200 small businesses (Hill, 2020) due to the external constraints these businesses were not able to overcome, including but not limited to, shutdowns, lockdowns, capacity restrictions, and so on. Today should be a day when Illinoisans come together and celebrate the day their state became part of a free nation, one conceived in liberty, but today they are barely permitted to run their businesses, more or less gather with one another.
How much is too much? How many small business owners must pay the ultimate price of going under before we acknowledge that lockdowns do not sustain us? If lockdowns were so effective in stopping the spread, it would have worked the first time and we would not have lost so many businesses – but the opposite has happened. Here we are, approximately nine months since COVID first really hit the United States, and after various lockdowns and capacity limitations, those states implementing such regulations are still struggling with the spread but, even worse, they are driving businesses to bankruptcy.
When the government shuts the economy down and imposes capacity restrictions, something is lost in translation, which is this: while it is as easy as a stroke of a pen to shut down the economy, it is not near that simple to open it back up – it takes time, effort, and money, and a lot of each from a lot of people. You cannot simply restart the economy and expect everything to back to normal; it simply does not work that way. The only way we can and will get through this is by opening the economy to 100% – yes, we can and need to be safe, but limiting capacity and shutting some business industries down is not the answer. Enough is enough. It is time to shutdown the shutdowns, it is time to curfew the capacity limitations, it is time to open back up. It is time to open the economy and it is time to end restrictions or our small business community will suffer which, in turn, means we all suffer. We must stand together in this or we will cease to stand at all.
John M. Beaman
President of The McGraw Council Membership, Inc.
Hill, B. (2020). Ownership of bars and restaurants also has declined over 70%, thanks to COVID-19 and associated restrictions. Illinois Policy. Illinoispolicy.org. Retrieved from Shop Small gets smaller in Illinois, with 11,200 fewer shop owners (illinoispolicy.org)