Small business owners plan rolling protest Saturday - FOX34 Lubbock

Small business owners plan rolling protest Saturday

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Small business owners are urging the city to let them safely reopen. Several owners and residents will participate in a peaceful rolling protest Saturday to show support for Lubbock businesses.

"What does our country look like if 10, 15 20, 30 percent of these small businesses shut down?" Paul McArthur, president and publisher of the Caprock Patriot, a Christian, conservative newspaper. "For every 1 percent of unemployment, suicide rate goes up 1 percent. These small businesses like mine, we have no income. We're shut down. We can't get unemployment."

Some of the merchandise big box retailers sell, small businesses can also sell with better safety measures in place, McArthur said.

"My issue is Walmart's open. I have no issue with Walmart. They're doing the best they can with safety measures, but if you go inside, it's a petri dish," McArthur said. "There are people everywhere, and you can go inside and buy a television, a fishing pole, toys, jewelry...those same products can be sold in Lubbock small businesses, and frankly, with better safety measures."

With this protest, they are asking the Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope and City Council for guidelines to safely reopen by Monday.

"Reasonable guidelines we'll follow, we're not rule breakers. I think Amarillo has rules like x number of people in the stores, provide hand sanitizer, social distancing, that sort of thing. Small businesses are smart, we're innovative, we can do those things," McArthur said.

Attorney Fernando Bustos said it is a tough situation for both sides, and there are sometimes questions of if these rules are being applied rationally to businesses.

"If the government cannot show if they're meeting any rational interests in the way they're putting these rules out that affect businesses, then those rules can be held to be unconstitutional," Bustos said. "Governments need to constantly recalibrate what they're doing in terms of not putting small businesses out of business at the expense of big box retailers who are enjoying a benefit."

McArthur said this is a lawful protest. Demonstrators will all stay in their cars, following the route. Police will also be on scene directing drivers and closing intersections to allow the procession to pass.

"We talk a lot about the curve for coronavirus. Well there's a curve in my mind as well. What does that curve look like for small businesses to recover?" McArthur said. "[If] we open the doors tomorrow, we're not going to have the income we had before, we'll maybe have 5 percent, how long does that take to recover and get back to 100 percent? That's the curve I worry about."

The procession will start at Clapp Park, located at 46th and Avenue U, and it will end at Jennings Park at 73rd and Winston Avenue. It is set to begin at 9 a.m.


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