All jobs and small businesses are essential. My beautiful wife runs this small business and because we are a team - I (her husband) help! Poppy & Stitch Boutique has been open for a little over one year and we were in the process of planning our 1 year anniversary '"pop-up" and celebration sale/party. This was placed on hold because California has closed the door on small businesses. Since we are a new online boutique in a VERY large market, we often do in person events to boost sales and spread our name. Since March 19th, 2020 - California has put many restrictions in place that have significantly impacted my wife's "non-essential" business. Most of America, and for that matter, the world, have experienced the same thing so there is no need to go into detail on all of the restrictions facing our business, and how it has effected us.
Small businesses make up almost half of the U.S. Economy according to economists, and a 2016 study by Penn State says it amounts to about 44%. That means small businesses will determine how quickly, or slowly, our economy will recover from all of this. We are an online business, but as I mentioned we are in our infancy stages. We still rely on being able to go to public events, organize public gatherings, and partner with other small businesses for private events. In spite of the fact Walmart and Home Depot can still operate while following "safety guidelines", according to the Governor of California, our business is not essential and we can not operate as we typically would. We are one of thousands of small businesses around the country who could be keeping our economy afloat by continuing to operate, if the government would allow it.
Skin and Tonique, a full service beauty bar in Escondido, CA has been forced to close down and stop operations during COVID-19. This small business, owned by some friends, could certainly continue to operate safely and responsibly, but have been determined to be "non-essential" by the state of California.
The economic impact of COVID-19 is something everyone is talking about, but what about the mental, sociological and psychological impact facing our society? Today you can go into Walmart and get a candy bar, you can go to McDonald's and get a hamburger, you can go to a marijuana shop (of all places) in many states, but our society is not allowed to go to church, or sit on the beach?? This is appalling, and is eerily similar to the religious oppression and basic freedoms that have been stripped of so many other nations that are not free.
Although you may disagree with me, I would like you to take a step back and evaluate what is going on. Hundreds of people can go to Costco today, follow safety guidelines, get their bulk bag of potato chips and their bucket of peanut butter stuffed pretzels, but those same people are not allowed to enter their place of worship - no matter the size - and gather with other like minded people of the same faith. Why? Could these religious institutions not offer the same safety guidelines? Another close friend of ours is a pastor in Lacrosse, WI and his new church is no longer meeting in person because they are following state guidelines. He tells me this is having significant impact on their church plant, online attendance and charitable donations. If you are able, and willing, go to Great River Vineyard Church today and donate.
As California and the rest of the nation continue to "loosen restrictions", we are now allowed to walk on the beach. Do not sit down, do not set up a blanket, and DO NOT walk on the boardwalk - but you are allowed to walk on the beach. Is this a safety issue? If anyone has ever been to the beach, 99% of the time people are more than 6 feet apart, social distancing, anyway. Try to bring your 5 year old to the beach and explain to her she is not allowed to build a sand castle because we are only allowed to "keep moving".
As a nation, and certainly as individual states - citizens have decided the government knows best and we are sitting idly by while our freedoms collapse in the interest of what? Safety? As Dennis Prager said in a recent podcast, if we are waiting for everything to be safe - that will be never. There is risk involved in everything we do in life. We as individuals decide if we want to take the risk for the potential reward. That is different for everyone, however, in America the choice should be left up to the individual citizen. Each and every person I have spoken to in California who have been forced to file for unemployment, are still waiting to hear back from our state government on this issue. CBS San Diego highlighted some of these issues in a recent article. Nobody is getting the money needed, and we are being told we cannot go to work! If we are waiting for government to solve this problem, we can only look at how the unemployment claims have been handled and decide if the government is our best option. Speaking for us, and our small business - we need to solve this ourselves.
One of the worst results of all of this is the impact this has had on law enforcement and the relationship with the community. Police officers take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not public health orders. Officers are being asked to keep people off of the beach, keep people out of parks, and responding to complaints in the community of gatherings at "non-essential" business and churches. This is not the role of the police. As police departments across the nation continue to make an effort to build a relationship with the community they serve, what officers are being asked to do in many communities will drive a wedge between the departments and those communities they serve.
As we progress forward, California and the rest of the states in this fine country need to realize decisions like these should be left up to the people who make this country great. The people are, in fact, smart enough to make their own determination on when/where/how they should go places. If you are sick, stay home. If you would like to wear a mask, wear a mask. If you encounter someone you believe may be sick, or not wearing a mask, do not publicly shame them or insult their intelligence. You do not know their story. Be respectful, graciously walk away and wash your hands. Something we all learned from about 3 years old is proving to be the most effective tool to combat this virus - wash your hands.
Poppy & Stitch is not making any operational changes due to COVID-19. We still offer next day shipping on all in stock items. We still are continuing to replenish sold-out, popular items, and will continue to add items to our inventory. We will also be offering 25% on all orders if you use the code REOPENNOW. We believe small businesses will be the economic revival our economy needs. Research a small businesses in your area today, and if you can, support their cause.