Corona Virus: Infecting Small Business
Chances are, even if you don’t have it, you haven’t stopped thinking about it. It’s everywhere, closing down events, gatherings, festivals. It’s emptying supermarket shelves of pasta, tissues, meat, canned food, frozen vegetables – and, of course, there’s not a square of toilet paper in sight! Kids are being told to stay home from school if they cough or present as unwell; parents, therefore, often need to follow suit, despite income loss. Ordinarily bustling university campuses look like ghost towns. The list goes on.
It’s a situation none of us have experienced, at least not in this way, where the media and our plentiful communication avenues are helping to spread information, keeping us up to date, while, possibly spreading more panic in the process. And as we all wait, watch and listen, medical professionals are working overtime to create a vaccine for the dreaded COVID-19.
It is without doubt that the threat of this virus is real, and my heart goes out to the elderly, the ill, the disadvantaged, those more likely to be most affected. But I would like to talk about how the virus – or at least the way in which it is being handled – is going to cripple small business around the world. Due to shutdowns to limit the spread of COVID-19, businesses are fretting; for example, with many ports inactive, factories are not getting their wares, meaning that products cannot be sold. The merry-go-round of the economy comes to a screeching halt.
There is no easy answer here, I certainly can’t provide one. I am in awe of the work of medical professionals in this situation, and am not criticizing how governments and institutions are choosing to act and stop the spread of this virus either. But I am concerned at what will happen in the near future as many businesses collapse and fail. I am concerned for the dangerous mental health issues ahead for these business owners, with the possibility of suicides. It’s a big question, but it makes me wonder, how many deaths will occur in response to the virus, as opposed to the infection itself?
All we can do is help one another, stay healthy and well, and keep perspective. Love Ben