Making decisions as a small business in the time of Covid-19
My husband and I have a small business, in the town of Paia on the beautiful North Shore of Maui. I have been reading the news, hearing the importance of social distancing. I am so on board. My kids homeschool, I have projects that will keep me busy till the end of time, the first being putting in a garden, because now is always a good time for fresh vegetables. My husband and I had a long talk and decided that we should close the store, but that leaves us without any income. We are scrambling to put our goods online, sell through instagram. Kicking ourselves that we didn’t make a shopable site years ago. We decided that we could take turns going down to the store to take pictures, send out e-mails, etc. We would still be isolated, locked in the shop, a quiet place to work, uninterrupted by kids. Today was my day to work. I came to town expecting it to be a ghost town, businesses closed, stores empty but that’s not what happened. Stores and restaurants are open, people are walking around, everything seems normal. I’m at the store, so instead of locking myself in like planned and trying to drum up business any way possible I go into “life is normal” routine. I open the doors, put on the lights and the music. Smile but keep my distance as groups of people wander around my store buying a nicknack here and there. No one says anything about the global pandemic that is non-stop on repeat on my phone, radio and TV. I grow more and more resentful as the hours tick by. Why are people out and about, why are all the stores open? Why am I open? It’s not like I have made enough money to make it “worth it”, $132 in sales so far today. It’s not going to pay my very expensive rent, not to mention my mortgage, but that is any day in retail and shouldn’t we be making every cent possible while we still can. $132 doesn’t make a dent in our rent but it would feed us and our three kids for a week. I feel so very conflicted. I should be grateful that we can still make money but I feel sick, that, by being open I am contributing to the problem. So for now I sit here feeling paralyzed by the decision wishing someone else would make it for me.