One of the most important questions we’ve been getting has to do with our small businesses. We’ve received a call from someone who owns 3 businesses in the food industry. They pointed out that the payroll protection funding from the CARES Act expires in early June. When that expires, they won’t have any more money to pay their employees. They need some lead time to create a business plan for reopening. For restaurants, a 50% capacity limit is going to require a business plan to break even, and to determine how many employees to bring back. They are anxious to know where we are for Phase 2. I articulated to the Governor that we are looking for a plan that gives us a framework going forward. I’ve asked the Governor to put out some sort of plan for Phase 2, and for planning for Phase 3. They were receptive to constructive input, and I hope to see that translate into a meaningful strategy moving forward.
I also want to talk about Mr. Floyd, which is the issue in current events. As a mom, a doctor, a nurturer, to see the video of Mr. Floyd was so disturbing and upsetting. I talked to the police and law enforcement in our area, and they thought the same thing. The question returns to: why weren’t there checks and balances to decide that was enough? For me, it always comes down to the value of the individual person, the value of dignity and the value of life. I think humanity is how we all judge moving forward. That video was horrible and inhumane, and I am with you to make sure the full extent of the law is used to evaluate that situation, and I think we all need to take a step back and think about how we move forward. I count my blessings for being here, with our police in Henrico, and they have relationships and humanity in how they interact with everyone. It is an act of love and respect. I am so grateful for that, and for our crisis intervention training. That is the training officers get to instruct officers to speak up and say to another officer that a certain action has to stop, or to de-escalate a situation. I understand why people are angry, and I’m angry too. I’m saddened that anger is being used in a dehumanizing way. I feel badly for the businesses that have been looted, and I feel bad for those people too. It’s a sad day, and we need to make sure we look at this with clarity, and to try and make the world better. I do believe in peaceful protesting, I do think it can bring about meaningful change. I look at Ghandi, I look at Martin Luther King, and I believe in the power of that. But I do worry about the anger, and the violence, and the dehumanizing act. I do have the power of my words, and to look at people and value them, and this is a terrible tragedy for Mr. Floyd.
There will be some changes to these chats moving forward, maybe moving to once a week now that we’ve moved beyond the COVID crisis. I’m going to focus on Wednesday’s at 12:30 because that is the day that I only focus on Senate things, and not on days when I’m at the medical practice. We’ll talk a little bit about current events each time, and about COVID. On COVID, all of the trajectories are going down. Each time we talk, we will focus on one particular issue.
This time, we focused a lot on small businesses. We need to have a conversation about higher education. Different schools are doing different things, it’s difficult and confusing. On Wednesday, we are going to focus on higher education and what it is going to look like for our kids this fall. I’ll provide an update on what many schools are doing.
We are going to find a path forward where everyone in Virginia understands that they are respected, and they won’t be treated unfairly. Take care, and see you on Wednesday.