As some states begin hesitantly reopening aspects of their economies, many small business owners find themselves in a Catch-22, as one Atlanta fitness studio operator who says he lost a family member to a likely coronavirus-related illness describes.
“I am in a Catch-22,” Ramese Long – who had only opened his gym in January of this year – lamented, saying “I am anxious to get open. However, rolling the dice medically, I don’t think is a good idea.”
States like Georgia, Colorado, Florida, Texas and a handful of others have stay-at-home orders expiring by end of this month, and have signaled that restrictions will begin to be rapidly lifted. Colorado, Minnesota and Montana are among those planning further to drastically ease social distancing guidelines. And Tennessee plans to go so far as to allow restaurants to welcome diners at 50% capacity starting Wednesday, according to Governor Bill Lee.
File image via CNBC
But as decision-making regarding freedom to open or close is set to be transferred back to the individual businesses, it’s unclear just how fast things will actually get back to normal.
“For small-business owners, it can come down to life-or-death decisions, for their firm, for their employees and for their customers,” Bloomberg writes. “The tasks at hand are concrete: how to rearrange a restaurant to allow for social distancing and where to buy noncontact infrared thermometers. While many owners are struggling to obtain financial aid and simply get by every day, they wrestle with daunting questions: Is my business model viable at half-capacity and will the customers come back?“
Yet other states, considered to have been more hard-hit by the pandemic such as New York, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, have yet to suggest any level of a timetable as to when businesses might resume.
Some health officials are advancing models which call for state-wide lockdowns to continue all the way into late June and early July. Researchers behind a University of Washington model that’s now making waves say that no state should open their economies before May 1.
While some sit on the fence in terms of the health risks of welcoming clients and customers –