More legislative action is required, and fast
If you’re part of the Love Live Local community, you’re already aware of the importance of choosing to shop local whenever possible. Cape Cod’s small businesses are integral to the fabric of the place we call home, and it is always important to think local first when making purchasing decisions. It feels even more important when we are going through a public health crisis and economic slowdown. But consumer spending is not the only thing that matters when it comes to supporting small business – policy measures at every level of government are necessary to make sure businesses are surviving and thriving.
Here are some policies and programs we have urged our federal, state and local governments to advocate for and support, as well as some simple actions you can take to add your voice to the discussion:
On Beacon Hill – ask more from our local delegates
The State of Massachusetts has offered a limited amount of loan and grant programs to a small number of businesses and postponed sales tax payments, but it is simply not enough to address the ongoing need. Additional policy interventions from our state legislators are necessary:
- Business Interruption Insurance: a bill that would clarify the laws around business interruption insurance and ultimately require insurance companies to honor legitimate claims. Almost every business’ claim for business interruption insurance across the country has been denied because “pandemics aren’t covered.” However our Massachusetts businesses were ordered closed by the governor, which means their claims should fall under civil disruption. Many restaurants, hotels, and retailers have said passing this legislation could literally save their businesses.
Legislation has been filed in both the House and the Senate during the 2021 legislative session. Learn more about the issue in our Policy Primer.
- Third party delivery fees: companies like Grub Hub and Uber Eats are price gouging local restaurants for use of their services, and state governments have the ability to place a cap on those fees.
Fees have been capped at 15% through the 2020 Economic Development Bill, however this cap expires when the Emergency Order ends. A bill has been introduced to make these caps permanent.
- Cocktails-to-go: the cocktails-to-go legislation was passed in 2020 allowing restaurants to include alcoholic beverages in their takeout offerings for the duration of the pandemic. It has provided a lifeline for many of our bars and restaurants, but the ability is set to expire when the Emergency Order expires.
A bill has been introduced that would extend the cocktails to-go program for two years while restaurants recover.
- Nascent Business Grant Program: many organizations that were established in the beginning of 2020 have not been eligible for state or federal funding opportunities, a proposal in the Senate would provide $5 million in grant funds for businesses and nonprofits that opened their doors just before the pandemic impacted the state.
SIGN THE PETITION SUPPORTING THESE MEASURES + HELP US SPREAD THE WORD
Reach out to the Cape & Islands Delegation to let them know our small businesses desperately need meaningful support from the state. Here is a sample letter to send.
Senator Julian Cyr, Cape Cod & the Islands
Senator Susan Moran, Plymouth and Barnstable (Bourne, Falmouth, Sandwich)
Representative Timothy Whelan, 1st Barnstable (Barnstable, Brewster, Dennis, Yarmouth)
Representative Kip Diggs, 2nd Barnstable (Barnstable, Yarmouth)
Representative David Vieira, 3rd Barnstable (Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee)
Representative Sarah Peake, 4th Barnstable (Chatham, Eastham, Harwich, Orleans, Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet)
Representative Steven Xiarhos, 5th Barnstable (Barnstable, Bourne, Sandwich, Plymouth)
Representative Dylan Fernandes, Falmouth, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket
On Capitol Hill – rally our Reps in Congress
The federal government has passed a second stimulus package with opportunities to access some federal funding. You can find out about the next round of the Paycheck Protection Program, EIDL grants, Employee Retention Tax Credit, and venue grant program here.
Note that these options have provided some temporary relief to small businesses, offering at most 3 months of operating funds for a crisis that will last well over a year and do not address all small businesses’ needs.
Congress also passed the Restaurant Revitalization Fund providing $28.6 billion in grants to restaurants and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program offered $16 billion for live music and theater entities. Other measures like the Small Business Local Relief Program would go a long way to helping the small businesses that need it, but these programs cannot meet all businesses needs
Reach out to these representatives to let them know additional and widespread federal assistance is needed for our small businesses:
Senator Elizabeth Warren
Senator Ed Markey
Congressman Bill Keating, 9th District
On Main Street – take your concerns to town
Towns and municipalities across the Cape have implemented many measures that have helped businesses reduce expenses by deferring tax payments, enabled them to expand their operations onto streets, sidewalks and public spaces in order to adhere to capacity limits and social distancing requirements, provided them with safety information and marketing materials and encouraged everyone to patronize small businesses. This kind of flexibility and measures are going to need to continue well into 2021.
Contact your local Select Boards, Town Councils and Economic Development offices and let them know small businesses need their continued support as the impacts of the pandemic continue to be felt.