On March 19, 2020 Governor Wolf ordered the Closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to slow the spread of the COVID-19 Virus. Restaurants and Bar Dine-In establishments were ordered to close on March 18th with enforcement to start on Saturday, March 21st. Then on March 30th, the Governor issued a Stay at Home Order through April 30th which was subsequently extended until June 4, 2020.
Ever since the Closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses was ordered and the Stay at Home Order extended and now with the Yellow Phase approach for the opening of businesses adopted, our Aston Small Business Owners and their employees are suffering. I have been in touch with many of our business owners. They are very upset, angry and to be quite honest, they are devastated by the extension of the Governor’s orders. While none of us on the Board of Commissioners are experiencing the loss of revenue, the incurring of new debt and the emotion and stress that goes with the force closures, we do understand their dilemma.
Some of our local representatives in Harrisburg also understand your dilemma and are working very hard to pass legislation that will open additional business in the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, yesterday the Governor vetoed three bills that would have opened more businesses and put over 200,000 people back to work across the Pennsylvania. I can assure you that Senator Killion and others continue to work in the best interest of our residents and small business owners in getting legislation passed that will open more businesses. I wish I could say the same of all of them.
So, what can the Aston Board of Commissioner do to help our small business owners when the County moves into the Yellow Phase and in the aftermath of the COVID-19. We want to offer some initiatives to business owners that will help increase your revenue over time and maybe help recoup lost revenue. Some of the initiatives are as follows:
- Outdoor dining at restaurants and taverns – This would include existing sit- down restaurants with liquor licenses, those without liquor and BYOB establishments and Taverns.
- Sidewalk sales in front of your place of business.
- Parking lot sales in our shopping centers and commercial areas in the shopping center and commercial zoning districts on a rotating scheduled basis.
- Allowing the use of wind sale banners and signs that are in good taste in the commercial and shopping center districts on an increased basis.
- Interacting with the Aston Business Association to promote your businesses to the general public and other small businesses. They can be reached at www.astonba.com.
These are just some of the initiatives that may be available to our small business owners. I am sure there are other initiatives that can be developed over time. That is why the Board is also looking for suggestions and ideas from the Aston Business Community. You are closer to your business and you know what is needed to bring your business back to life. Please think about it and let us know your thoughts.
You can present your ideas to your commissioner by calling them. Their phone numbers are on the Township website at www.astontownship.net. You can also contact Township Manager Joseph DeVuono at 610-494-1636 to discuss your suggestion or idea and he will set up a follow up meeting to discuss it further.
We may need to amend some of our zoning ordinances to accommodate these initiatives and to ensure customer safety, but we will gladly do so to help our business get back to normalcy.
Finally, please know that our goal is to help you “Make your business great again” and make it even greater than it ever was before the Coronavirus ever came along.