Don’t Let Virus Stop Area Small Businesses

The decisions being made in the halls of Congress and in Albany regarding COVID-19 are important — but so are the decisions we all make every day.

One of the best decisions we can make is to do all we can to support local small businesses that are staying open during the coronavirus pandemic.

The New York State Association of Counties released a study Wednesday forecasting Chautauqua County losing about $2,352,953, or 3.9% of its sales tax revenue, this year while a severe scenario forecasts Chautauqua County losing $8,688,207 in sales tax revenues, or 12.9%. Those lost sales taxes also reflect money that is projected not to be spent in the local economy this year — meaning less money flowing into the pockets of small business owners and their employees. And, in a worst case scenario, some businesses that started this week closing temporarily may find it impossible to open in the future.

That would be catastrophic not only for our county economy, but for individual families in our midst. Those who value our small businesses should make every effort to support them through this pandemic.

Those who can should try to order take-out meals from their favorite restaurants. Parents who have children who look forward to pizza day each week at school could consider making one day a pizza day at home to support local pizzerias. Companies who are still open could consider a treat to their remaining employees and order a surprise lunch from an area restaurant. If you can’t find the food you want at the supermarket, consider picking up the phone and placing an order with that little restaurant down the street that perhaps you’ve wanted to try and haven’t gotten around to yet. Consider buying gift cards that may be available for local retailers. Gift cards can provide cash to the business in return for a service that you may want later. If you’re going to be home for a while, visit your local hardware store and take on one of those home improvement projects that have been lingering on your “honey-do” list for months.

Chautauqua County has been losing jobs and businesses long before COVID-19 entered our lives. Let’s not let this virus cost us a future filled with some of our favorite hangouts, haunts and foods. There is talk of federal stimulus money making its way into the local economy. Before that happens, let’s take it upon ourselves to inject a stimulus package into the local economy. Support our small businesses during this critical time. Not only will it help keep the local economy afloat, but it will keep local families afloat during this tough time too.


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