A consignment shop owner in Pennsylvania questioned the fairness of the state’s coronavirus orders and asked why her store is not allowed to sell children’s clothes, while big retailers like Target get the green light.
Brittany Allen, the owner of Fashion Cents Consignment in Strasburg, Pa., spoke to Breitbart about the hardships her small business faced after being told by the state to close down amid the pandemic.
Allen, who attended an anti-quarantine protest in Harrisburg, said she was forced to lay off her 35 to 40 workers last month and was even denied by the state to allow curbside pickup and “small party shopping.”
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She said that prior to the pandemic, her business was growing and she had money saved. But being forced to close was insurmountable.
“It was all very quick,” she told Breitbart. “I didn’t really have time to prepare my employees about what was going to happen. We had to lay everybody off. I had some money saved up, but I had a mortgage, and I had, you know, electric and utilities to pay, and I didn’t have any way to keep anyone back on payroll.”
Allen’s plight is similar to many Americans who are beginning to question the wisdom and fairness of various shelter-in-place orders. Many don’t approve the government essentially determining what businesses are essential and which ones are not.
Health officials have credited strict state orders in at least slowing the spread of the coronavirus, but protests are beginning to emerge across the U.S., calling on states to show tangible evidence that these orders played a role in the lower-than-expected numbers.
The coronavirus, in some cases, has pitted big companies against much smaller ones. It was widely reported that Ruth’s Chris and Potbelly received hefty funds from Congress’ Paycheck Protection Program, the government’s small-business relief program.
The Associated Press reported that Ruth’s Hospitality Group and Potbelly Sandwich Shop obtained a combined $40 million from the program, which contributed to the fund drying up before many small businesses had a chance.
Congress is working on a new bill that would replenish the $350 billion small business rescue fund. But banking officials warned Politico that unless the fund is upped to $1 trillion, the money will likely evaporate in days, leaving a lot of small businesses out in the cold.
“This is going to go within, at most, 72 hours,” Richard Hunt, the president of the Consumer Bankers Association. “But the odds are more like 48 hours.”