VIRGINIA (WDVM) — The pandemic has taken its toll on the entire economy, especially on local businesses. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine and his House counterpart Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton spoke with local business owners about this topic on Thursday morning.
Among the members in the discussion were hotel owners, printing and marketing company owners and restaurant owners who all cited the lack of tourism due to the pandemic has caused significant losses. Some business owners expressed concern over rising costs due to supply chain issues and the lack of employees returning to the workforce.
Katie Schneider, Director of Operations of The Marketing Management Group, a marketing and advertising group according to the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, says that big businesses are not the only ones feeling the effects of the pandemic.
“We provide promotional products logoed apparel, branding services, things of that nature. So if I don’t have restaurants who need uniforms for their clients, then I don’t have work. If I don’t have conferences, where people need swag bags, I don’t have work, right?” Schneider explained. “So it’s not just these higher, bigger industries. It’s everybody who supports them.”
Another business owner, Tony Stafford, who owns a number of restaurants in Loudoun County, says that the supply chain has caused him to raise prices on his menus, making him feel like his restaurants are being forced to become “fine dining” restaurants. He also went on to highlight that he is having trouble finding staff to work in his restaurants. He says he doesn’t anticipate the supply chain issues will be resolved anytime soon.
“I don’t feel like the prices are going to go down and my concern as a restaurateur is no longer is eating out in my restaurant going to be something they can do on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. It’s going to be a special occasion restaurant, and that’s not whatever wanted to be,” Stafford said.
Senator Kaine and Congresswoman Wexton have both pushed to pass a number of bills to help small businesses like the American Rescue Plan, the CARES Act, and the December 2020 Government Funding Bill, which included COVID relief.
Virginia small businesses received more than $18 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans to keep workers on the payroll and Sen. Kaine and Congresswoman Wexton have collectively secured $7.2 billion for the state from the American Rescue Plan and $80 million specifically for Loudoun County. some business owners are still saying that more has to be done to save their companies.