As the Thanksgiving feast and the Tryptophan coma subsided, the tradition continued and shopping began for the holiday season. Consumers searched for deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
Last year, big box stores like Walmart, Target, and Costco thrived as Nevadans didn’t have the opportunity to support small businesses. Many small businesses and restaurants were forcibly closed or simply went out of business due to the extended lockdown, social distancing, limited capacity and mask mandates imposed by Governor Sisolak through ’emergency powers’ supported by his Democratic colleagues.
Suddenly, this year Sisolak and Nevada Democrats became champions of small businesses, with two high-profile statewide Dems even sharing the same language, declaring that they “are the backbone of our economy.”
Happy #SmallBusinessSaturday! Small businesses are the backbone of Nevada’s economy, creating countless jobs and supporting our communities. I hope you’ll stop by a Nevada small business today.
— Catherine Cortez Masto (@CortezMasto) November 27, 2021
Small businesses are the backbone of our State and now more than ever, they need our support as they continue to navigate, retool, and pivot from the effects of the pandemic. Keep the momentum going and #ShopSmall on November 27! https://t.co/AExlh6BgDy#SmallBizSat pic.twitter.com/RalOouWMXR
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) November 26, 2021
Small businesses have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Dina Titus (@repdinatitus) November 26, 2021
These targeted lockdowns created not only a windfall of empty storefronts, but an epidemic of unemployment. During the height of the lockdown, Nevada’s unemployment rate exceeded 30%. Currently, Nevada still is topping the US at 7.3% unemployment.
At this time last year, many small business owners were asking to conduct their business according to the same safety protocols as the larger retailers, yet they were denied due to square footage limitations or their inability to operate at a profit due to limitations on occupancy.
Today’s Democratic champions of small businesses were yesterday’s champions of shutting them down. While Sisolak’s mask mandate and emergency powers continue to this day, small businesses continue to struggle. Sisolak and his colleagues may feel a small-business-backlash come November 2022–well before Small Business Saturday is a popular, political talking point.
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