Small business march will continue despite planned reopenings

Despite the competent authority’s reopening of some businesses and the promise to open more depending on the country’s COVID-19 statistics, business advocate Mark Turnquest said his 100-man march for small businesses will continue as planned on September 4, so long as the permit is granted by the commissioner of police.

Turnquest, who was a guest on Guardian Radio’s “Morning Blend” talk show yesterday, said the march will continue because the grievances of small business owners are not limited to the ire over the emergency orders’ lockdown measures – which have hurt non-essential businesses – but includes statutory policies he said have stagnated small businesses for years.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” Turnquest said. “COVID-19 added a lot of stress on the small business owners, but the policies for small business owners over the years, we were going to see this trend eventually. COVID-19 just exposed it.”

According to Turnquest, small business owners in his circle, who have been shut down on and off since mid-March due to the pandemic, will have reached the end of the lifeline of their companies in October.

“There is no October plan,” he said. “They were [in October] going to lay off all their staff and they were willing to really just be in the organization by themselves trying to run it and move out of the business location where they were paying rent, because, you know, everybody lost their money in August. All of us paid business rent, including myself and we haven’t been there [in the rented space] yet and that’s a loss that cannot be recovered in the short-term.”

Turnquest contended that there has been “a negative systematic approach” to small businesses over the years and he said he and 100 business owners from ten different industries are marching to protest that negative system.  

“What we want to do is bring solidarity to the [focus], always making sure that small businesses are given the utmost attention,” said Turnquest.

“What the march will do is bring heightened exposure to things, policy changes like the small business act we were pushing for for ten years and still is not legislated yet.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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