‘Open’ advocates want to kill your small business

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

This week, three Republican state legislators called on Gov. Tom Wolf to begin to reopen Chester County.

To say it was an exercise in political hackery — and moronic — is likely an understatement. And yes, it is being orchestrated by President Donald Trump, whose mishandling of the pandemic cost thousands of lives, millions of jobs and will result in the closures of countless small businesses.

Look, I’d like to see the lockdown end, see life come back — and it will. But the numbers tell us Chester County is not there. There are too many new COVID-19 cases emerging daily, and no, they’re not all in retirement homes as some would suggest. People are still getting sick by going to the supermarket or just running errands.

I think we’ll be there in a couple more weeks — if the trend holds and people continue to be smart.

But as someone who has met a payroll and lived on the knife-edge of making revenue cover overhead, I’ve got to tell you, if you’re a small business owner these premature open up guys are trying to kill your business.

Sure, the corporate overlords — and their lackey GOP fronts, such as the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry — want you to open right up and be permanently out of business before Labor Day. With failure of the PPP loan program — shocking, most of the cash went to big businesses — small business owners are feeling the pressure and it’s awful.

If you own a small store, say, and reopen you have to cover pretty much all of your overhead, debt for merch, employees, insurance, rent and so on. And if you reopen, you have zero chance of recovering Business Interruption Insurance (yes, I know your insurer probably denied the claim, but it seems very likely the courts and/or legislation will reverse that) for the weeks once you open and find yourself doing little business.

If you knew your business could get back to say, 80% — well then the math works, you’d have to tighten expenses (it’s always your paycheck that comes last, right?) but you could hold on.

But how likely is that? Regardless of when Chester County gets to Yellow status, a lot of people will be uncomfortable with getting back out there and shopping. And — because the federal government failed to put enough money in the hands of the middle and lower economic class, they don’t have money to spend with you. So, it seems unlikely any small business will get — initially — back to 80%. You do the math: can you make it on 40 to 50% of previous business volume?

And lastly, if we open too early, we’ll have another outbreak, a second lengthy shutdown — and that will kill off many small businesses. Sucking it up now, when we’re close to getting this down to a level we can manage for the long haul, will pay dividends this fall and beyond.

Yes, it’s awful. We all hate it. And no, despite claims — most of us supporting Gov. Wolf’s shutdown orders don’t want them to last one second longer than needed. I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t agreed with a number of decisions by Wolf – but the key decisions saved Philadelphia and the collar counties from turning into Brooklyn and Queens, NY. Had Wolf waited a week or two, the death toll — 4,400 plus to date — would have been so much higher.

Wolf’s administration has made the metrics clear — and Chester County is not there yet. Maybe, if the federal government had been aggressive on getting testing out there — a debacle – and resources for community contact tracing, we might not have had to shutdown as long, or even at all.

Maybe if PPP hadn’t been a corrupt disaster — or if Congress/Trump moved on real financial relief for consumers, it would be easier to wait things out.

But the reality is the reality.


The other day, we had another Astroturfed protest of the historic courthouse in West Chester. Over the years, groups left and right have done so and it is part of the American tradition — and right — to express dissatisfaction with government.

From what I can gather, this group largely declined to wear masks or face coverings on the whole and seemed — from the pictures I saw — were ignoring social distancing.

This is stupid and exactly the kind of conduct that will slow the reopening of the county.

Somehow, among some, the idea of not wearing a mask is a form of protest (Cartman voice: “The Gubment is restrictin’ mah liberty.”), or worse, some argue the virus is a hoax, which is the height of stupidity and an insult to the 90,000 Americans who have died from the virus, including so many doctors and nurses who died trying to save others.

If wearing a mask was an act to keep the wearer safe, I’d shrug and chalk it up to Darwinism. But folks wear a mask to protect others from themselves — COVID-19 often presents with no symptoms. You might have it and never know.

Not wearing one says, essentially, “the hell with you” to the rest of the community. It is selfish and ignorant and will make this crisis worse and last longer.

Wear the damn mask. Observe social distancing.

Act like an adult, not a raging three year old.

Stay home. Stay safe.

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  1. Jack Assetto says:

    As a hack liberal writer, I won’t use the term Journalist, you are at least getting a paycheck every week while spreading your BS. My business has not had any receipts for nine weeks but the monthly bills still come due. We’ll survive but I fear that many small businesses will be forced to close. When we do reopen it will not be business as usual. We business owners will have to adapt to a new model.
    Mostly because of the articles that people like you write, and the BS our Governor and Secretary of Health are spreading.

    • Mike McGann says:

      Did you even read the column? I own the business. I only get paid when we have revenue. Also, what BS exactly? That COVID-19 is a dangerous virus that has killed 4,500 Pennsylvanians? That rushing to reopen now will likely result in another shutdown? That had President Trump listened to his health experts and done ANYTHING in January, February and the first two weeks of March, things wouldn’t have been so bad. I’m sorry your business is in trouble — obviously PPP didn’t work for you, either (another administration failure), but blaming me for pointing out the truth doesn’t help.

  2. Simon says:

    Because of a lack of testing, it is clear COVID-19 cases, and deaths associated with it, are being massively underreported. Moreover, with so many asymptomatic cases there’s a false sense of security. We MUST NOT “reopen” too early, or we risk a spike that could put us back to square one.

    Trump’s actions betray his sole focus is re-election. He doesn’t care about deaths. He doesn’t care about people. He only cares about himself.

  3. Jerry G says:

    What a JOKE…you’re just another shameless, dim-witted liberal hack.

    Texas is fine…and so is Georgia, and Colorado…..stop the lying and fear-Mongering

    Put down your Democrat Talking-Point playbook and get some facts for a change

    You’re just another America-hating coward….another brainless sheep.

    This pathetic, sorry excuse for a news publication is not fit to be a litter box liner.

    How embarrassing


  4. Laura says:

    Best article I’ve read in a LONG time!! Great job!

  5. Mike McGann says:

    Texas is not fine. They had their worst day in terms of new cases, yesterday — two weeks after the reopening. I know Texas well and do business there — it’s not going well. And no, your suicide claims ring hollow (if you were so worried, why not do something about the 15K gun suicides every year?). Chester County is not ready to open — we’ve literally shown no improvement over the last couple weeks and had the highest new case total EVER on May 9. Where are the customers going to come from for these businesses if they don’t feel safe?
    Wolf isn’t perfect, but he far from a tyrant — he’s using his constitutional power as governor to protect the public. It’s not a matter of being scared — it’s a matter of giving damn about whether people live or die. it’s caring whether businesses live or die. You seem to care about neither.

  6. Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

    LOL WUT. Is it opposite day? No the lockdowns are killing business and killing people. Businesses can’t wait for government programs. And people are suffering. They are dying due to suicides, overdoses, and failure to get medical issues checked out. I bet in two years we will look at the overall deaths, and realized the lock downs killed way more people then they saved, and hurt way more people then they happened.

    Look at Florida, Texas, and Georgia. They are opening fine.

    Chester County is ready to open. Only the petty tyrant in Harrisburg is preventing that. He cares more about power then saving lives. If you don’t want to go out, you don’t have too. But don’t stop people from living because you are scared.

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