The past few weeks have placed our world in a tailspin. Uncertainty has swept through every aspect of our ‘normal’ lives. Just three short weeks ago, we had no understanding of the invisible beast that was beginning to rear its head–the coronavirus.
I’m a small business owner, and I have no idea what the future holds for me or my businesses. I am blessed to be able to telecommute and deal with customers online or by phone, but many small businesses are not set up for that. This is especially true in the smaller communities of West Virginia and around the Nation. I can only imagine the stress of those establishments that have multiple employees and how all the paychecks, business bills, and personal lives have been brought to this new reality. So, it is from my perspective that I speak to you today, and I too will be staying put and not traveling anywhere.
Every day, people, along with business owners, for the most part, are complying with suggested CDC protocols. On Tuesday, March 18, 2020, I drove to a controlled office environment where they were using the CDC guidelines. As I drove there, I saw no real difference on the highway, and our local Walmart parking lot was jam-packed. It was astonishing. Plus, there were more out of state plates than usual. On Thursday, March 19, 2020, there was a marked difference in traffic and patrons at Walmart. Still, there was a good volume of cars even as we are all under the National State of Emergency enacted on March 13, 2020, by President Trump, and the WV State of Emergency ordered by Governor Justice on March 16, 2020.
On Monday, March 16, 2020, the White House also put out the recommendations to follow with the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America called “Fifteen Days to Slow the Spread.”
Now, these are common sense suggestions, distance yourself from others, stay home if sick, work from home if possible, and so on. You can read the actual guideline here:
But one thing sticks out to me…it’s the section “Do Your Part to Slow The Spread of the Coronavirus.” The only people that should be out and about regularly are those in the Critical Infrastructure Industry that is defined by the Department of Homeland Security. Those industries identified as Critical Infrastructures during the Covid-19 event are as follows: communication, chemical, critical manufacturing, commercial facilities, dams, and defense industrial base. Also included are emergency services, energy, financial, food and agriculture, government facilities, healthcare and public health, information technology, nuclear reactors, materials and waste, transportation, and water and wastewater systems. See https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19
Did you see your business listed there and have not been directed to close but maintain the suggested guidelines? Then I want to take this time to personally thank you if you are a part of any of those industries because you are sustaining the critical supply for the country right now! I ask anyone reading this, please consider praying for each of the sectors going to work under these extreme conditions.
Some businesses in the commercial sector were told to shut down for at least two weeks by Governor Justice understandably on Wednesday, March 18, such as gyms, restaurant lobbies, bars, and casinos. On Thursday, March 19, Governor Justice spoke of the barbers calling with concerns. He felt the need to lead from the state level and require all hair salons, barbers, and nail salons to close, but isn’t that a given that these non-essential establishments should be shut for the suggested two weeks under the State of Emergency?
I have to ask this question to all my small (and more significant) business owners, will the country shut down if you close for two weeks or more? If you can not absolutely say yes to this question, then you need to consider the consequences of your decision to remain open not only for your family but for the lives of those around you and anyone you employ. This is not a chess game that we can play without losing a game piece. Yes, it is more than likely you will be unable to make payroll, will be unable to pay your operational costs, will be unable to travel, and will not live a normal life for the next two weeks and beyond. This is a hard realization and one we never as business owners or as a Nation thought we would have to make in our lifetimes. But yet, here we are. It is also likely that we will rebound greater than ever as a Nation once this passes!
Now let’s consider what could happen if you choose not to close for two weeks or so. There is a high probability that you, your employees, and possibly customers could unknowingly become contagious. Even if they do not present with symptoms, they could pass the virus to a child, a friend, a loved one, or any of the most susceptible in our community. I would surmise that not one person reading this is wanting that outcome, nor are they wanting to be put under a stay-at-home order as the whole state of California was placed under on Thursday, March 19, 2020.
Our government, no doubt, will do the best that it can to help prop up the economy, but let me just tell you right now, it is the people of a country that make it great! And we must rise to the occasion and treat our neighbors as ourselves. Our President and government have been as forthright as possible in providing information and are doing all they can do as human beings, as should we.
I don’t know how else to pose this question though…other than whoever is reading this, we are literally being asked to suspend our lives as we know them to save another’s life. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to help your employee and your neighbor endure by helping out in not only in word but in deed? Are you willing to place your future in a World that will not be able to help with your every need, or are you willing to even consider that there is a higher power that can and will help you through this?
I am. I know that as a believer in Jesus Christ, all of my needs will be met, and He will bless me, so I can bless others. He is bigger than this virus, but wisdom also tells me to heed the warnings presenting themselves right now. I am confident in His abilities and not my own. He is my hope in the darkness.
If you do not have that assurance, I pray that you ask Jesus Christ into your life and join me and other believers who are relying on His grace, mercy, and peace to bring us through this unstable season. I don’t know what tomorrow holds for my family and me, let alone a year from now, but one thing is sure in my mind, I will see the Glory of the Lord in the land of the living!
I pray for healing, provision, strength, and protection over you all, especially for those on the front lines.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his nameâ€™s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
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