Written by Nicholas Vetrisek
As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, “nonessential” businesses have been forced to close their doors. The shutdowns have largely decimated the local, state, and national economies. In addition, they are causing small businesses to struggle mightily to make ends meet and may cause many of them to fold.
Last week, Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey provided his thoughts on the matter, expressing his support for the reopening of local businesses. In the piece, he told the story of a toy store owner in San Diego who received a visit from law enforcement because he was still doing business despite being “nonessential.”
“Although operating a toy store did not meet the state’s definition of an ‘essential’ job, it was still an essential job to him. During the past several weeks, over 22 million people lost their jobs as tens of thousands of businesses were forced to shut down,” Bailey wrote. “Even if these jobs did not meet the state’s definition of ‘essential,’ each one of the 22 million jobs lost so far were essential to someone. Each one of those jobs helped keep a roof over an employee’s head and food on the table for an employee’s family.”
In addition, he mentioned how large corporations are given immunity while small businesses are criminalized despite often doing the exact same thing.
“Why are big box retailers allowed to operate with hundreds of customers and employees at a time, but small mom and pop stores are shut down? Why is Amazon allowed to deliver the exact same puzzle as the local toy store sells, but the toy store is banned from making the same delivery?”
Mayor Bailey has openly called for decriminalization of simply doing business, and allowing every business to operate under the same rules. His sentiment is being echoed more and more recently, as small business owners across the county and the nation are having their lives turned upside down by the forced closures. How many more jobs, businesses, and livelihoods must be sacrificed before we recognize that this is both unsustainable and unacceptable?