David Waikem, small business owner of Waikem Auto Family in Massillion, had an opportunity to give testimony before the Ohio 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force. The Task Force recently began an initiative to reach out to small business owners across the state to get their feedback and testimonies at the meetings in order to gauge the impact on businesses due to COVID-19.
Even with the designation as an essential business, Waikem addressed the task force by mentioning how his business has seen drastic changes because of the pandemic as he had to lay-off 124 people last week.
“People are afraid to come out and I don’t blame them,” said Waikem. “Cash-flow right now is our biggest concern.”
While facing these cutbacks, Waikem’s mentioned that his business has still been able to help local police and fire departments in fixing their vehicles. Additionally, Waikem provided optimism that with the proper social distancing and cleanliness put in place by business owners, he believes that businesses would be able to reopen in Ohio.
As a small business owner himself, state Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp.) understands Waikem and many other business owners’ concerns as they face the ramifications of the coronavirus.
“Since beginning our Task Force’s initiative of hearing from small businesses, we have received a lot of feedback and submissions from our business owners from across the state,” said Stoltzfus. “Hearing directly from our small business community has been and will be extremely helpful as us members of the Task Force continue to analyze the impacts of COVID-19 on this community. It’s also important in how we determine our recommendations in how best we can help these businesses and when Ohio will be ready to reopen.”
The Ohio 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force is taking these small business submissions and inviting owners throughout the state to participate in a virtual meetings to explain the impact in greater detail.
If you have a business, you can email Ohio2020@ohiohouse.gov the following information:
- Name and location of the business
- Number of employees
- Years in business
- Contact information for business owners (email, phone number)
- Brief description of nature of the business
Additionally, businesses can submit written responses to the task force. If submitting or speaking before the task force, the panel asks businesses focus on the following points:
- If/how they are able to operate during the coronavirus.
- What kind of financial strains have been brought on by this? If they have been in business for many years, how has this been compared to other financial downturns?
- What kinds of obstacles do they see ahead of them once they are able to fully open up again?
- Any governmental roadblocks ahead that the legislature should be aware of?
- Any ideas that they might have on protocols they believe would be helpful to return to work while maintaining a level of safety to provide confidence to their customers?