Md. Comptroller says many businesses could go under without second stimulus
DORCHESTER COUNTY, Md. – As Maryland makes its way through its reopening process, Comptroller Peter Franchot says the coming months will be especially tough. “We’ve lost tens of thousands of small businesses. We’re going to add to that tens of thousands more that we just cannot afford to lose at this point,” said Comptroller Franchot.
Comptroller Franchot warns that if a second COVID-19 stimulus package isn’t passed by Congress, many businesses in Maryland could suffer more. Some could even be forced to close their doors for good. “If we don’t get a second stimulus plan from Congress – and that seems to change day to day in terms of the chances – we are going to be in a world of hurt,” said Comptroller Franchot.
Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Bill Christopher says that on the local level, the restaurant industry has been hit the hardest. “Clearly the restaurant industry is not in a good place, and it’s not going to be until we can get back to operating as normal,” said Christopher.
But Christopher says some local retail establishments seem to be doing okay. He says the biggest asset for local businesses has been their ability to adapt as the pandemic has progressed. “If they haven’t adapted their business – and that’s the biggest thing we see as we talk to members – you’ve got to adapt. If you try to do what you did before and wait it out, you’re not going to make it,” said Christopher.
But, Christopher says that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the Eastern Shore. He says he’s optimistic that businesses in the agritourism industry will benefit from the pandemic. “Specifically on the Eastern Shore and in Dorchester County, I think we’re positioned really, really well. We’re seeing a lot of marketing done with tourism because we have a lot of wide open spaces,” said Christopher.
Comptroller Franchot adds that the impact of COVID-19 could even help businesses to grow. The Comptroller says it will change Maryland’s economy for the foreseeable future. “I think we have a chance to reconstruct the state’s economy in a way that’s different than it is now. Much more equitable,” said Comptroller Franchot.
Christopher says that the Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce has been in talks with several businesses who are interested in moving to the area. He says this is a good sign for what the local economy might look like on the other side of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Comptroller Franchot says that he thinks it could be four to five years before Maryland’s economy is completely back on its feet.