Jason Lewis, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, released the following statement as small business owners come out in droves to support his call to reopen Minnesota’s bustling economy:
“I have been talking with small business owners across the state of Minnesota and they are all telling me the same thing: it’s time to go back to work,” Lewis said. The candidate for Senate mentioned how he grew up working in a small family business and how “absolutely devastating to our employees” it would have been if their revenue collapsed due to a top down government edict.
Lewis also notes that not all states are handling the Coronavirus epidemic this way. He acutely notes, “there is growing concern that the longer Minnesota stays shuttered, the harder it will be for some of these businesses to be able to bounce back. We need to pivot to the second phase of handling [the Coronavirus] where we start gradually re-opening the economy for folks who wish to return to work, while the most vulnerable among us continue to self-isolate.”
Jason Lewis emphasized the need to be responsible, upholding use of best practices, and protection of the poor and vulnerable. “But,” he adds, “we cannot destroy Minnesota and the country in the process of fighting this virus. Simply put, the cure cannot be worse than the disease.”
Here are several testimonies from small business owners who are encouraged by Lewis’ words:
“My wife and I own and operate a small business, more specifically a dance studio. Our business serves almost 500 kids in the Maple Grove area. Since the forced closure of businesses by Governor Walz, we have effectively been shut down. Many of our families are canceling and not planning on attending our virtual classrooms, seriously hurting our business. As of now, and for as long as we can, we will be paying our almost 20 employees, however we can only continue for so long without bringing in income. We can’t keep operating like this indefinitely. Minnesotans who are willing and able should be allowed to go back to work while still going above and beyond to protect the vulnerable.” Alex Huffman, The Dance Complex in Maple Grove
“I am a second-generation concrete and masonry contractor, and this shutdown puts my family business in a very difficult situation. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get the supplies needed for my job, or whether people will even be able to afford to go forward with the projects they’ve already put down payments on. Just like every other small business owner, I have bills to pay and commitments to keep. I’m not fearful—we’ve always managed to get by in times of difficulty. But I do worry that if we prolong this, it could take years to recover. We need to get back to work. If you’re older or have underlying health conditions that makes you more vulnerable, stay home. But the young and healthy should be allowed to go back to their jobs.” Jon Dietrich, Hardline Concrete & Masonry in Inver Grove Heights
“This forced closure of restaurant and bars has been devastating for my family run business. We have had to lay off 12 employees. These are single moms and single dads. It is absolutely heart wrenching. If politicians and members of the media had to walk a day in our shoes, I think they would have a whole different outlook. Of course small business owners are concerned about this virus. But we’re also concerned about the ramifications of shuttering businesses for weeks on end. A lot of small businesses aren’t going to make it. We should be able to save lives while also saving small businesses. We need to find a way to get back to work.” Gidget Bailey, Tin Cups in St. Paul and the Old Clover Inn in Vadnais Heights