When the Covid 19 pandemic began, action from Congress was swift and necessary. The CARES Act saved millions of businesses and jobs in the early stages of mandated shutdowns. Here we are months later and many of our members and home furnishing businesses need help again and now.
As we know SBA loans and PPP funds allowed many businesses to survive shutdowns in March, April, and May. Many home furnishing retailers managed through lengthy closures and business restrictions to bounce back strongly as the economy started to reopen. Much of what our industry sells is needed by the American people as they live in our “work at home” world. However, the business boost is not enough to make up for weeks of no revenue in many cases. Furniture businesses are at risk.
With new direct shutdowns possible or restrictions in place again that will curtail consumers’ ability to shop freely, furniture retailers need more financial support, or we fear that many may be forced to close for good. That would significantly impact local communities, not merely due to a loss of tax revenue and jobs, but because home furnishing retailers sell essential products.
- Appliances sold by many furniture stores are essential to the safe and healthy operations of American households. When they fail, they need to be replaced immediately.
- Lift chairs, recliners, and adjustable-base beds are essential for people with physical infirmities or recovering from injuries or illnesses – including COVID-19.
- Work at home is a new way of life, and furniture retailers support that by supplying desks, chairs, computer tables, lighting for professionals and their children and college students.
Home furnishing retailers have also proven they can operate safely by keeping people safe distances apart and scheduling customer appointments to further limit the number of people in stores at one time. Employees have time between customers for thorough hand-washing and other hygienic practices, and stores can be thoroughly cleaned several times a day.
HFA is asking members of the House and Senate to address these concerns immediately and pass new stimulus provisions in the form of:
- Another round of PPP, making payroll protection accessible to more businesses.
- Liability protections to support the safe practices undertaken by each store owner
- Simplified forgiveness process for the smallest PPP business loans
Now is not the time to coast through the end of the year, wait for 2021 and hope for action in January when a new Congress takes over. We need action now.
Here is a link to a website with the contact information for your representatives in Washington. We urge you to reach out to them and add your voice to this call to action. https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
Let your Congressional representatives know that our home furnishing retail industry matters to every community and our economy. The time to act and support our members is now.