BETHESDA, Md. — In the time of coronavirus, lots of small business owners are struggling to figure out if their operations qualify as essential.
Dog walkers, roofers and bicycle store employees are all wondering if they can stay in business through the crisis.
"We're kind of in a state of confusion," Joelyne King, who owns Prance Around Pet Services with her husband, said. "We really don't know what's expected of us at the moment."
With their 20 employees, they're walking dogs, pet sitting and ferrying animals around, sometimes even for those fighting the pandemic on the front lines.
"They're nurses, doctors, several police [officers] that we work for," King said.
According to the governor's office, Prance Around Pet Services is essential.
"They're a lot of people who are not getting paid so they have to ride their bike to get around," Perperone said. "They can't afford to put gas in the tank."
A Goldman Sachs survey found nearly half of all small businesses fear the pandemic could bankrupt them, and cost Americans millions of jobs. The feds are working on a bailout, Maryland is offering grants and loans and the Montgomery County Council is now considering up to $75,000 grants per business.
"This is the perfect time for the federal government to ride to the rescue and keep all our businesses open, but they haven't done that yet," Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker said.
Small business owners, like all the rest of us, are just hoping this doesn’t last much longer.