Businesses Helping Workers, Communities and Each Other During COVID-19  

By at 28 March, 2020, 12:08 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

Amidst the coronavirus crisis and economic downturn, we’ve seen wonderful examples of people helping and pitching in however they can. That goes for many businesses as well.

For example, The Washington Post reported on how the founder of Fanatics, Inc., Michael Rubin, came up with the idea in the middle of the night to transform the company’s Pennsylvania plant from making Major League Baseball uniforms to manufacturing protective masks and gowns for medical professionals from the same material that would have been used for the uniforms.

Fanatics makes and sells online all kinds of sports apparel. (I’m a customer!) Rubin was quoted, “When the country is in need the way it is, it’s our privilege and opportunity to try to chip in in a small way. If we can save even one life, that’s better than making baseball uniforms and jerseys.”

And to its credit, when The Walt Disney Company announced on Friday, March 27, that it would have to extend the closure of Walt Disney World and Disneyland until further notice, it also noted that it will continue to pay hourly theme park and resort employees through April 18. That will make a real difference to many individuals and families for a few more weeks.

Also, The Daily News in Jacksonville, North Carolina, reported on March 27 how local businesses were helping each other and the community. For example, “Green Clean Auto Spa in Jacksonville is … offering $6 washes or a $6 credit for a higher wash for customers who bring a receipt from a local restaurant. The wash must be used the same date as the restaurant purchase and it must be from a Jacksonville establishment.”

In addition, Southern Roots Grill is “offering free lunch for school-aged children,” and Beaufort Wine and Food in Morehead City has “set up a relief fund for area restaurant workers, open to people in the restaurant field who have experienced wage disruption or layoffs in the Crystal Coast area.” Beaufort Wine and Food Executive Director Christine Garnett noted that “the relief fund has ‘raised over $25,000 and Beaufort Wine and Food has donated $12,5000 for a total of $38,500’ during the COVID-19 crisis.”

For those of us who understand what entrepreneurs and businesses really are about – that is, ultimately providing what others need or want – then this is not surprising. But it sure is appreciated.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.



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