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Rules for business are not fair amid this serious virus

By GURNEY WAGNER

I know this virus is very, very serious business.

But as a small business owner, I am unable to work and it is crippling my business.

When I say crippling, I’m implying that I may lose my business that I found and built from the ground up with my father over 30 years ago.

On my way to work, which is notably only a four-mile drive, I pass several small businesses.

By small business, I mean the owner typically has to take out the garbage at times. They must write checks. They usually are the ones that end up in frequent communication with their customers.

The first business that I pass on the way to work is Calico Creek. From the way that I understand, you walk in and it is blockaded. You tell Calico Creek what you want and I believe you can only get food or medicine for animals.

The next business I pass is a carpet and tile place next to the former Blue Chimney Restaurant. Of course, they are closed. You have Peter’s Sporting Goods Store, which is closed. You have a remodeling business on Hogan Boulevard that is closed.

For Bi-lo Supply, you have to call in and get your material and they bring it out to you. You can call Gallagher Floor or Carpet One and he is closed.

I pass Unkle Joe’s Woodshed and it is closed. I pass two places that sell eye glasses and they are also closed.

With all of this, why are the rules and regulations written so that when I pass Walmart and Lowe’s, their parking lots look like it is Black Friday day after day?

I was told that I was not allowed to be opened because nothing I do or provide is life sustaining.

I am in the kitchen cabinet business, but yet you can go to Lowe’s and Walmart and buy tile, carpet, a lawn mower, a gas can, lightbulbs, paint, kitchen cabinets, flower seeds and mulch that you cannot even buy at the publicly-owned Wayne Township Landfill, which is closed to residents.

Or, you can even call ahead to Lowe’s or Walmart and tell them how many bags you want. You have your money ready and they will have your slip ready.

You go to Walmart and you can buy eyeglasses, while two other businesses not far away that sell the same are closed.

The only difference is one is a chain and the other two are not.

You can buy pots and pans.

You can buy tubesocks.

None of these are essential items and yet these large business still operate.

But yet, there sits Unkle Joe’s, a small business, selling items just like this but they are required to be closed.

I called several government agencies, including the governor’s office and then getting referred to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and they just read more rules and regulations to me, telling me I cannot be open.

I explained the situation I just talked about to them and all they could do is say they are sorry that I am a small business … not a large business … hence the only reason I am inoperable.

All the while, all I do is sit along with other small businesses and starve as we are forced to be closed.

I have called the county commissioners with no phone call back.

I have called state Rep. Stephani Borowicz’s office and was told there will be unemployment benefits for the first time that she knew of for sole proprietors for businesses.

But even that will not save my business.

With this, it’s difficult even in these times to understand why the rules are written the way they are.

Big businesses have stockholders who continue to keep them afloat and these large business delivering THE SAME items thrive while the little guys starve and have nothing to go on.

Thank you very much.

(Gurney Wagner is the co-founder and owner of New Look Kitchens in Lock Haven.)

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