Dear RAM Members:

Today is day 39 of the Emergency Order.  Closures will certainly continue until May 4, making that 55 days, and could be further extended to at least May 15, which will be a staggering, economically disastrous 66 days.  Within our 4000 members, the unparalleled crisis has impacted those “essential sellers” dealing with customer and employee safety concerns, supply chains and unequal government enforcement rules from community to community.  Contrast their challenges to our “non-essential sellers,” many of which are 100% closed, and having to deal with no sales, yet continued payment demands from vendors, landlords, and creditors.  

Indeed, government orders have created economic winners and losers in this crisis through determinations on who could serve their customers and who couldn’t.  And ironically the important Paycheck Protection Program also created winners and losers, ranging from early applicants who received funds before the initial roll out ran out of money; to those which will see the program as a grant vs. those facing a loan, all depending on their continued payroll in this crisis.  Lost on many public policy leaders is the fact that when government forces your small business to be closed and your doors locked, you may not have the payroll needed to make the PPP forgivable.    

Essential businesses, like our grocery, pharmacy and hardware sellers, have had to deal with consumer fear, hoarding, supply chain, and employee and customer safety challenges.  Closed businesses have dealt with layoffs and furloughs, and demands from landlords, lenders and inventory suppliers, as the reality of no income raised the frightening challenges of whether to continue to fight for a future or to permanently close the doors on Main Street.

RAM recognizes that to date the default decision making has appropriately come down on the side on health and safety.  Yet, we are now at the point that the economy, jobs and the future of our Main Streets must also become counter balancing considerations. 

We need our public policy leaders to place at a higher priority level the future of small businesses in the Commonwealth in the weeks to come.  RAM is working hard to better educate them on potential step by step actions to reopen the economy, including allowing scaled back and safe consumer service.  Most importantly, we need to stress to consumers the economic importance of their spending choices to locally shop and dine.  In an effort for your association staff to better understand your vision for reopenings, we need your important input.

We urge all RAM members to take a few minutes to provide us with important feedback through the Survey Monkey in this newsletter.  Your input will provide RAM with the data we need to advocate on your behalf on how to safely and appropriately bring consumers back into our stores, restaurants and service locations.

We also urge you to check back to the RAM website frequently for new links and new information from state and national organization and government sources.  Frequent reviews of the state’s “COVID-19 Essential Services FAQs” will be an important practice for RAM members in the coming weeks. 

Thank you for your time and input on this vital effort to bring our consumer driven economy back to life.


Jon Hurst