Lyon County Judge-executive Wade White (R) Wednesday, Nov. 18, sent an open letter email to many of the county’s small business owners, saying that he shares their frustrations with the newly-issued restrictions announced by Gov. Andy Beshear (D). The governor’s announcement followed a spike in COVID-19 cases in Kentucky. White wrote that he trusts the business owners to make their own decisions.
“…While Walmart and Amazon cash in, Governor Andy is going to string you all out in the name of his sugar pill for this virus,” White’s letter said, “while government offices shutter their doors and cash paychecks sitting at home on the couch.” He added, “I don’t want the government in my doctor’s office with me any more than I want the governor to tell you how to run your business.”
In an interview later in the day, White said the data about COVID has not been shared to show that a small business or a small restaurant is a superspreader. He referred to closing down small businesses, leaving places like Wal-mart and other big businesses open. “We know how many people congregate in there,” he said. “So, how can you have hundreds congregate in one building and you can’t have just a few congregate in our small restaurants? It’s like the governor is putting a boot on the neck of our small businesses, when he’s already cut the legs out from under them in the last lockdown.”
White said lockdowns didn’t seem to work the first time, but did hurt small business, the most vulnerable entrepreneurs in Kentucky. “Large business can handle something like this; small business can’t. It has really upset me because I know these people. I know how hard they work. They don’t go home and cash checks. They have to work to put food on their table.”
The Lyon County judge-executive added, “I’m lucky. I can go home. I can quarantine myself and I still get paid. So, can the governor. So, the way I look at it is if we’re going to go through this lockdown again, I think the people who choose to lock people down should also not cash their paychecks. Then, they’ll see how important it is for these small businesses and those people who work for them.”
“I think Wade has made some great comments,” said Deb Domke, executive director of the Lake Barkley Chamber of Commerce.
“He believes in our community and has both passion and compassion for our small business owners. Through this whole COVID nightmare we’ve been living, from the beginning, Wade White has supported our small businesses. When the restaurants had to go to outdoor dining, he and the county built picnic tables and loaned them out to restaurants in their parking lots, so they had a place for customers to go.”
She said that when she got the news from the Governor’s press conference, she reached out to White. “These restaurants are barely hanging on with decreased capacity, masks, and now to shut them down at this time of the year, when outdoor dining is not an option when it is 32 degrees is devastating. Some of these mom-and-pop owners have invested their whole livelihood into these restaurants. They live it day and night. To have it shut down, it’s devastating in all directions.”