by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
For almost 20 years now my wife, Laura, and I have run Link Paris, a small boutique French travel company. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we survived the great recession in 2008, the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris in 2015 and 2016, and the reality of giant competitors eventually moving into our niche. …
… Our No. 1 product is a day trip from Paris to visit the landing beaches in Normandy. It is a destination every American should see if he or she visits France. We are very proud to have helped so many people visit this hallowed ground.
Now, here we are, 10 months into COVID. Our revenue is down more than 99 percent. We’ve had a total of two clients since March — a father and daughter who were receiving medical treatment in Paris. They, and others like them, are among the very few Americans allowed abroad.
We’re still standing, but how much longer can we? How much longer can any disrupted small business last? We are hurting in my industry and many others.
This is a horrible virus and I fully understand and support the fight against it. The worry is that the government is implicitly saying to us, and a million other small businesses, that we’re simply collateral damage of the pandemic. “Yes, you had a decent life, but that is over now. You need to accept your limited prospects and move on. Tough break. But, you know, the virus.” …
… No small business could’ve prepared for this. What started as “15 days to slow the spread” has turned into something far different. I get it — six weeks to beat the Germans in World War I turned into four long years of trench warfare. Things change.
But Washington needs to give small businesses a genuine, real chance to survive.