Elizabeth Milito of the NFIB Legal Center and Holly Wade of the NFIB Research Center discuss a very challenging time
Nothing since the Spanish Flu had hit America like the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first few months of 2020, governors across the nation were either shutting down their economies to see if that could contain the spread, or they were ordering severe restrictions on the everyday interactions of commerce.
No one felt the impact more than small-business owners, personally, as head of families, and as providers of livelihoods for their employees. Where to turn? Who to talk to? Where to get reliable information? As the voice of small business, NFIB swung into action as it never had before, and leading that charge were Elizabeth Milito, senior executive counsel for the NFIB Small Business Legal Foundation, and Holly Wade, executive director of NFIB’s Research Center.
The key to herding the latest information and answers to urgent questions, especially during the rocky launch of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, was to conduct easily accessible live webinars that allowed Milito and Wade to talk directly to small-business owners. In fact, Milito tells podcast host John Kabateck, NFIB’s California state director, it was, “NFIB members in California who were the impetus for our first webinar, which we launched March 13, 2020.”
Today, the webinars average 4,267 registrants. Shortly after their launch, Wade started the widely reported COVID-19 Small Business Survey series with the dual aim of reaching the public and policymakers with the latest small-business information, which now includes research on topical issues such as labor shortages and supply-chain disruptions.
Is there one recurring theme through it all? “The one reoccurring theme from the beginning has been a desire [on the part of small-business owners] to keep the business open, to keep the business running, and to keep employees safe,” said Milito.
Looking back, Wade said the webinars “quickly turned into all the questions related to how to access the [PPP] program, if they qualified, how to start an application,” and have now shifted to questions such as mask mandates. In the podcast, Wade also discusses one of the more interesting data points to surface in 48 years of NFIB research history [Hint: think container ships waiting off America’s ports.]
And, for 2022?
“Unfortunately, the foreseeable future, at least in the next six months, is likely to be more of the same,” said Wade.
For the New Year, Milito responded, “First and foremost, we are looking to fight back against the U.S. Department of Labor vaccine mandate rules.” NFIB is a lead business plaintiff in the fight Milito describes as a “very disruptive rule.”
Click the arrow below to listen to this highly informative podcast. You can also find all NFIB’s prior podcasts at this link.