Unmasked: Part 7 – Small businesses

Published 10:21 am Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Tryon Daily Bulletin is featuring a seven-part series on the impact of Covid-19 and government restrictions in the Foothills. This series of articles will focus greatly on the opinions of small business owners, local families, churches, health care facilities, schools, etc., and whether they believe government restrictions had a harsher impact than the pandemic itself due to unintended consequences. Its intent is to allow readers to determine if the measures taken to reduce the spread of Covid-19 has taken a greater toll on our community than the virus itself.

An anonymous gym owner in the area says that nothing positive came from the shutdown.  

“It impacted the bottom line only to the extent of the few people that believed working out in a gym was dangerous,” he said. He also highlights that most people wouldn’t come to work out at a gym if they are feeling sick, anyway.

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The owner goes on to say, “The shutdown, in my opinion, will turn out to be known as the biggest hoax ever portrayed on the U.S. or any human population since the day of creation.”

He claims there was no way to really “prepare” for a national shutdown, saying, “I do not know how any of [the small businesses] prepared to stop making money, yet keep their businesses afloat. I feel empathy for those business owners. That’s why praying for this country as a whole is very important.”

When considering whether the pandemic shutdown was necessary for businesses, and whether it was worth the financial scares, the gym owner says that it was not worth it or necessary.  

“The CDC is,” he says, “I assume, the most recognized source of data in regard to death and disease in this country. They show around 768,000 deaths for this year and last year due to Covid.”

He goes on to share the statistics he found directly from the CDC website and the number of deaths for the leading causes of death in America in the past year:

  • Heart disease: 659,041
  • Cancer: 599,601
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 173,040
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 156,979
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 150,005
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 121,499
  • Diabetes: 87,647
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 51,565
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 49,783
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,511

The gym owner says, “As you can see, heart disease kills nearly as many as Covid, as does cancer. Out of these 2.5 million deaths, how many of them were stated as being due to Covid?”

He states that he doesn’t see how all Covid deaths, as reported, were simply due to the virus, claiming that these 2.5 million people may have had the virus when they passed away. Therefore, some deaths might be attributed to the virus rather than heart disease or whatever may have been an underlying illness.

“I do not believe any type of shut down whatsoever was necessary,” he says. “If a person is predisposed to have a type of illness, then why make me go through the same precautions as he/she had to? For example, if a friend has heart disease, then why make me stop eating fast food to help his cholesterol?”

Overall, the gym owner did not believe the shutdown was necessary, claiming that the measures taken to prevent Covid-19 did more harm on small businesses than the virus did.  

“If someone did not want to be exposed to the virus, then he/she should have stayed home,” he says. “Some of us truly believe in Jesus and the hedge of protection that he offers.”

Likewise, Lindsay Dobbins of Lucy’s Botique in Landrum says, “Hindsight, I do not think [the shutdown] was necessary. I believe that small business owners, like others, should be trusted to make their own decision as to what is best for them, their business, and their customers.”

Dobbins claims the shutdown wasn’t uncalled for, given the short period of time their business had to be closed. She says she has tried for a few years to take a conservative approach, placing them in an economically good position to handle an event like the Covid-19 pandemic.  

“Thankfully, because of strong leadership from out Governor, our doors only had to be closed for two to three weeks,” she says.

The shutdown did not have an extremely negative affect on Lucy’s Boutique, Dobbins says, and the positive affect of the shutdown was that their business grew. They began a new delivery system and Facebook Live communication with customers. Now, they have people shopping virtually all over the southeast.

When considering whether the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 did more harm to small businesses than good, Dobbins says, “This all depends on where your business is located.”

She goes on to say, “Our town was able to operate as close to normal as possible. We had many suggestions from our State and local leaders on different measures to take, but we were allowed the freedom to choose what we felt was best for our business. Therefore, we were allowed to give our customers the freedom to choose what they felt was safest for them.”

Overall, the anonymous gym owner believes that the measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 took a much greater toll on the community than what was called for, claiming he doesn’t necessarily believe that all deaths in the US this past year was due to the virus.  

Dobbins claims that the harmful effects of the shutdown on small businesses wholly depended on where the business was, believing that Landrum was not one of the harsher shutdowns.  

As this article is the last part in the Covid-19 Unmasked series, in the May 2 edition of the Tryon Daily Bulletin will feature a follow-up article that summarizes the subjective opinions of individuals and statistics that were included in this series.  

By Macy Cochran