A Call for Greater Advocacy – Protecting Businesses During the COVID-19 Crisis

A lot of tough decisions are being made right now concerning this Coronavirus pandemic and business are suffering for it. Some of our members would like to see a different approach to COVID-19 as it concerns small to medium sized businesses. Hence, the formation of The Houston Coronavirus Business Group.

According to the organizations website, “The Houston Coronavirus Business Group was formed to provide a strong and united voice to government officials on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of small to medium size businesses and independent contractors in Houston currently being severely affected by the Coronavirus shutdown”.

Jon Polley, Vice Chair, Education & Workforce Development Committee of West Houston Association, had this to say:

“In my humble opinion, ending “stay home” restrictions at the end of April is likely not the best business decision for our region.  Maybe Houston and Texas will be in a position to safely loosen its COVID-19 restrictions by May 1st and maybe it won’t.

The end of April is a full 3 weeks away and the situation may be much improved or it might be dramatically worse by then.  To illustrate the point, just look back three weeks to see how much has changed.  Three weeks ago, on March 19th, the United States had 12,070 and Texas had 143 confirmed COVID-19 cases.  As of yesterday, the United States had 423,637 and Texas had 9,353 confirmed cases.  These amounts represent 31 fold and 65 fold increases, respectively.  On March 19th, 183 Americans and 3 Texans had died from COVID-19.  By yesterday, 14,495 Americans (79x) and 177 Texans (59x) had died.  The point is that three weeks is a long time with this virus. (Source:  https://covidtracking.com/).

 I am hopeful that 3 weeks from today, the country and Texas will have experienced a dramatic drop in COVID-19 cases such that the entire country can dramatically curtail restrictions and the economy can begin to operate again.   

If the goal of those wishing to end the “stay home” is to organize small business owners (which I am), promote the plight of small businesses during these restrictions to our elected leaders, and encourage those restrictions be curtailed as soon as can safely be done, then I would 100% support the group.  However, promoting an outcome by a date certain with conditions so unpredictable and relatively uncontrollable has the potential to endanger the people’s lives.

Jon Silberman, of the Corona Virus Business Group, sent out a message encouraging others to support a petition that advocates for the needs of this group. It reads as follows:


As citizens of the United States, Texas and Houston .. as well as entrepreneurs, managers or self-employed contractors .. it’s our duty to make ourselves heard in the ongoing discussions within the State and local governments with regards to the Coronavirus situation. Whether they choose to listen to us or how much influence we ultimately will have is impossible to know, but what I do know is we need to collectively speak up and make the effort.

So, with that in mind, I have created the “Houston Coronavirus Business Group”, created a petition website and crafted a letter that will be sent to various state and local government leaders. In addition, I intend to follow up and request meetings with the key officials and several of our group members to further advocate for the needs and interests of our group. THIS HAS TO BE DONE NOW … decisions are going to be made in the next few weeks that drastically affect lives, jobs, mental health and a lot more.

The key at the moment is WE NEED AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE TO GO TO THE SITE AND SIGN THE PETITION.  The only criteria is the person is a small to medium size business owner in Texas, manages part or all of a small business in Texas and/or is an independent contractor or self employed individual.

 The website is www.houstoncoronavirusbusinessgroup.com – it will take no more than 30 seconds to complete and sign.

 ALSO PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE YOU WISH AND AS MANY QUALIFIED PEOPLE AS YOU CAN – The more signatures we get in support of this effort the more “influence” we will have.

Despite the varying degrees in viewpoints, both individuals are willing to advocate to small to medium sized businesses in this unprecedented time.