March 20, 2020
TO THE EDITOR:
To the Carteret County Manager and Carteret County Commissioners: I and other small business owners have NO cash coming through the front door because our businesses have been FORCIBLY SHUT DOWN due to COVID-19 fears. While our employees have been laid off and can go collect unemployment, we, as owners, cannot. We still have to pay our business utilities, insurance, taxes, rent, lease, mortgage, loan interest, etc.
Many of us have rental properties at the beach and that is OUR ONLY SOURCE OF INCOME right now. That is our ONLY cash coming in to keep us afloat. These rental properties have no shared spaces, are not shared among guests, have private parking and beach access that does not involve being close to anyone. Once a guest walks to the beach, it’s easy to maintain a 100 FOOT social distance.
You cannot forcibly shut down the Carteret County economy and force Carteret County small business owners into financial ruin, burning through capital reserves and savings without giving support in return. You MUST allow safe ways for us to remain in business and ALLOW us a CHANCE of keeping our heads above water.
Visitors that fear contracting the virus will not come – okay, but there are people who understand the risk, are not immunocompromised, are not elderly, do not have underlying medical conditions and take all the needed precautions that WILL come and HELP keep us afloat financially.
Small business owners, faced with financial ruin and no help from the county, will decide to reopen for business. Faced with the choice of getting sick or bankruptcy, small business owners will take their chances with getting sick. You can’t shut down the economy indefinitely; it will have to reopen. The question is, how much damage are you going to inflict upon small business owners until the inevitable happens – a reopened economy? How is Carteret County going to give me cash to survive in exchange for forcing me to shut down my business?