I had grand ideas to open my blog with an article describing the design process for one of my most recent floral creations inspired by the ocean (this will come at a later date). However, with COVID-19 being such an unprecedented and historical crisis, I feel I should open this blog by addressing the impacts of COVID-19 from the perspective of a very new, very small business owner.
“It’s just like I’m standing on this cliff, looking out into this huge, foggy abyss, and in my whole life, there's never been an abyss. It's been abyssless. I’ve always known exactly what is in front of me, and I’ve always known exactly where I’m going, and now...I don’t know what’s out there.” - Rory Gilmore
I have never related more to Rory Gilmore. That’s a bald-faced lie -- I pretty much always relate to Rory, but this quote rings especially true during this point in time. There are many small businesses that face this abyss with me, are very worried about their ability to weather this storm, and some have not been able to make it this far.
I started this new business only a few short months ago. When my husband and I made this decision together, we both looked at opportunities to reduce bills that would allow us to be financially supported by one income, and I took on a part-time job that still continues to help support us today. I consider myself extremely lucky that this business is so new, that it was never expected to be my only source of income this year and we made decisions based on that knowledge, but this is not the case for many of my fellow florists and small business owners. These amazing, self-made people rely on the income they generate from their business, and that income is generated from behaviors that are not compliant to social distancing -- eating out, working-out, being vendors at public events, and more.
The U.S. Federal Reserve made the decision to cut interest rates to near zero as a way to support the economy. While this would be helpful in a more traditional recession, hoping that it helps to stimulate spend, it is not as helpful during this pandemic because we are being asked to practice strict social distancing and social distancing is so important for so many reasons. The one closest to my heart is that I have family members that are part of the healthcare systems in Canada and the USA -- if we can flatten the curve with smart, respectful social distancing, we can reduce the stress on the healthcare system as a whole and my family members, and many others, will have a reduced risk of contracting the virus.
But what we have here is a double-edged sword; we need to practice social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 helping to reduce the stress on the healthcare system and death toll, but social distancing is causing economic strain, resulting in layoffs and closing small businesses. I am clearly NOT an expert or well educated on how our economy works, but perhaps there are ways in which we, as individuals, can help our local small businesses without breaking social distancing practices.
Consider purchasing gift cards to use at a later date, ordering take-out / delivery, keep paying your membership(s) for a little while longer so many businesses can continue to pay their employees, and/or commit to a vendor for your future event with revised terms and conditions that both are comfortable with. These kinds of future-forward actions can provide support and hope to the small business owners and their employees; and if you are not financially able to help in this way, a listening ear can be just as powerful.
I urge everyone to think twice about how you are talking and behaving during this crisis. Be mindful that this virus is forcing families to face a financial abyss, praying they will make it through till the fog lifts. Others are praying that their family will not be hurt by the spread of the virus because people refuse to take social distancing seriously.
To conclude this blog, I leave you with a more appropriate and hopeful quote which I stumbled upon while writing:
"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed." - Kitty O'Meara
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