‘We’re All In This Together’Paul Zimmerman, owner of the Red Maple Inn, a full-service restaurant and hotel in Guilford, Maine, said the sheriff warned him they would strip his license per the state attorney general if he defied lockdown restrictions.
‘I Went Home and I Cried’Roughly 450 miles from Maine, Eliot Rabin, owner of Peter Elliot Blue—a men’s clothing store in Manhattan—expressed much the same sentiment.
If the state issues him a fine, Rabin said he isn’t going to pay. If they arrest him, he said he will take his case to the Supreme Court, adding that lawyers have approached him saying they would go pro bono.
Some customers have driven in from Pennsylvania and Long Island to support him in person, while others from around the country have supported the store with online purchases.
“It’s been amazing. It humbled me to a point where I went home and I cried,” Rabin said.
Americans are starting to becoming wiser on the importance of reopening the economy, he said, adding that he doesn’t want to make light of the disease.
Rules and social distancing-related guidance are posted on the store’s front door. The clothing boutique provides masks, gloves, and sanitation to anyone entering.
Rabin said 95 percent of the feedback and response he has received has been positive. He believes all Americans will unite if they know what life is like for everyday businesses like his.
‘Makes No Sense’Some small-business owners said they haven’t received any money from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), described as a “loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.”
“I have not heard of a single business owner that I know or work with that has actually received any PPP money,” he told The Epoch Times via email. “No PPP money and no income means they have to reopen.”
Some of the government actions and guidelines have been confusing, Roulet said, as he questioned why grocery stores were allowed to open “without people dropping dead” while other businesses couldn’t. Owners are well aware of the virus numbers and the “moving goal posts,” he said.
“The ‘cure’ has become much worse than the disease, and we are more concerned about our financial futures than the virus,” he said. “That is how I feel, and it is how my small-business owner clients feel as well.”
“When stocks run out, we have no choice but to cease operations for the time being with a chance of furloughing employees if our cash reserves start to hit critical levels,” he said.