If you were told to go home today, and not return to work until April, without pay, could you do it?
What if the return date was unknown?
Well, Los Angeles bars and restaurants have been forced into that choice by the governor of California and the mayor of Los Angeles.
After those paragraphs, you might be surprised that I am for the halt. What I am fully against is not having any other part to the plan. If a restaurant chain lays off or furloughs their staff or is at a small margin and cannot survive a week off, then the results will be massive. And not in a good economic way.
Your favorite restaurant might be gone. Or breweries will close and not just temporarily. Without a second part to this plan, that involves supplementing income for both affected businesses and workers, then we will be forced into an economic panic and we have seen that Americans will panic and panic hard.
Closing bars and restaurants will put even more pressure on grocery stores and speaking as someone who waited 1 1/2 hours just to enter a well run Trader Joe’s and also saw the empty shelves at Amazon/Whole Foods can attest, that pressure is going to be too much. Then we expect underpaid gig economy workers to deliver food and groceries! Until one gets the virus, of course.
There needs to be a full multi-pronged effort. Even if the details are not ready, it should be made crystal fucking clear that restitution will absolutely be made. Or that a the very least that delays in payments will be vigorously enforced as business practice for now. All there is now is vague promises of support.
Health now is vital. But to sacrifice tomorrow in the process is just a Ponzi scheme. One that individuals and small business should not have to shoulder the cost of without a promise of having that favor be returned.