DALLAS - Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson unveiled a new resource for small and mid-sized businesses on Tuesday to help them navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
Dallas Forward will allow larger businesses to help smaller ones. The group is asking large businesses to donate PPE, or the money to purchase it, to help contain the pandemic while keeping businesses open.
Johnson put together a private sector team co-chaired by Richard Fisher, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, to help provide resources for small businesses in the city.
“If we do this right, help revive our small and medium size businesses, we will make it even more attractive to be here,” Fisher said, who is co-chair of the group.
Fred Perpall, CEO of The Beck Goup, and the other co-chair of Dallas Forward, was firm on his opinion of government-ordered shutdowns.
“It should not be on the table. We believe best way to keep it off the table is wearing PPE, masks when we are out in public,” Perpall said.
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The message to residents is still to be cautious when leaving home to shop.
“We know we have to live with COVID-19 until we have a vaccine, and we know the only way to save both lives and livelihoods is to take precautions, such as masks and cleaning regimens,” Johnson said.
Piersten Gaines, owner of Pressed Roots Hair Salon in Trinity Groves, never had "pandemic" and "social distancing" in her business plan.
“March 14 was our official open date and we had to shut down two days later,” Gaines said. “Biggest challenge is capacity is so much lower than we projected.”
Gaines says additional PPE would help her salon.
“We remind all customers, but sometimes they forget,” Gaines said. “It’s tough to ask them to leave because we might be fined, would be good to have extra for people who forget.”
Fisher said that 31,000 small business employees have lost their jobs and another 100,000 jobs in the city of Dallas alone are at risk due to the pandemic.