Small Businesses Confused By Governor’s Directive, Some Facing Sudden Financial Ruin

Date: March 17, 2020

COVID-19 restrictions making it tough for those with lack of cash reserves and their employees

The following news release was sent out by Pennsylvania’s NFIB State Director:

HARRISBURG, March 17 – NFIB, a small business association with 13,000 members in Pennsylvania has received calls and emails from many of its members confused by the declaration handed down by Governor Tom Wolf as to whether their business is non-essential and should close, whether the directive is optional, and others who face a severe financial situation due to the novel coronavirus.

“We have been inundated with calls from businesses trying to determine whether they should be closing after the Governors Proclamation, such as cleaning services, those who provide food for funerals, offer tax services, and even a company that manufactures military equipment,” said Gordon Denlinger, state director of NFIB. “We need more clarity or a list explaining exactly what is an essential service before there is a need unmet during the virus outbreak or unnecessary financial harm to these small businesses and their employees.”

NFIB is trying to secure such a list from the Pennsylvania Department of Economic and Community Development that would clarify this important information on what exactly is considered “essential” and hope that is provided immediately.

Many businesses across the state, especially the smallest and the ones with the least cash reserves are facing financial ruin or have closed and laid off all employees.

“I received a call from a woman who started a dog treat business 16 years ago and has 3 employees, but since she sells at fairs and festivals all have been canceled. She was weeping about having to lay off her employees, something she has never done and feels awful about,” added Denlinger. “Not only that she has zero income suddenly and would not be eligible for unemployment. A loan with low or no interest just wouldn’t help in a case like this.”

One of the problems small business owners are raising it that their financial need in many cases is immediate, and tax credits or loans that may take weeks or longer, and won’t be much help when they run out of money.

While the Governor has strongly suggested non-essential business close, his office does say if the suggestion is not taken, it could become necessary to compel compliance under the law if businesses don’t act, in the interest of public health.

Editor’s Note: The Governor’s most recent guidance on essential services can be found here.

Related Content: Small Business News | Pennsylvania

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