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Please Postpone & Shop Small Amid COVID-19

With concerns for COVID-19 growing, many events are considering their options and many Pennsylvanians are buying up items to get them through the next few weeks while supplies still last. Governor Tom Wolf even announced today that all schools in Pennsylvania are to close for 2 weeks and the CDC recommends events with over 200 people in attendance postpone their event.

What's important to remember in this time are two key items. First is that if you're an event organizer, please consider all options before canceling an event. While following CDC's recommendations, you can still hold your event as normal and tell audience members to stay home if they feel ill. Either that or you can postpone your event for a later date. Please do not cancel. The participants in your musical, theater event, concert, dance recital, or any other event, along with the audience look forward to your events all year long. Please do not let all their hard work go to waste.

Aside from your cast and crew, companies across the country rely on your business. I realize it is completely selfish of me to talk about this issue seeing that I run MHP, an events company, but it's true. Companies like mine are happy to work with you to reschedule events for another time when this health crisis has passed. The Spring Season makes up about 60-80% of any event company's annual revenue so this crisis and shut down could not happen during a worse time of the year for our industry. Our industry has already lost millions so far. Economists and industry professionals estimate that by the time events come back to normal schedule, the industry will lose billions.

Larger companies have millions in reserve to help them through times like this but some smaller companies don't, which is why some companies I know of have already filed for bankruptcy due to COVID-19 cancellations. I want to make it clear, MHP is not one of them and we have no reason to file for such things at this time or any time in the near future. I am simply mentioning how bad the problem is nationally and for friends of mine in the industry. Rather than the alternative, industry professionals are happy to work with you to find another date or weekend in the future so you, your audience, your cast and crew, and our companies can all have a great year.

Secondly, it's important to remember to shop small during this crisis. Large corporations such as Walmart, Sam's Club, Amazon, and others have already said they will lose money due to this crisis but some economists believe they will actually make higher profits than usual. This is because of many Americans staying at home and buying from online stores instead of shopping in person. But even if large corporations were to lose millions over this crisis, it would still be a drop in the bucket for such large companies with billions in reserve to help them through hard times. While admittedly, a 20% loss of revenue for them is a dollar amount in the billions, it is still just a drop in a very large bucket for their bank accounts. A 20% loss of revenue for a small, mom-and-pop store or restaurant means closing their business and closing their dream forever.

So, rather than buying your groceries from Walmart or buying a bunch of things off of Amazon, please shop small and support the grocery store down the street which is barely scraping by on a normal day, let alone during these crazy times. Please shop small and get your coffee at the local shop instead of the national chain. Now, more than ever, small businesses need your help.

Gene Barr, President and CEO of PA Chamber of Business and Industry said in a statement today that Pennsylvanians should consider purchasing gift cards at small businesses to provide those small companies with cash flow to get through the crisis. He urges Pennsylvanians to only buy what they need when it comes to bathroom tissue or medical supplies. He recommends companies move to allow their employees to work from home if at all possible. Now is not the time to panic and due to this crisis, we cannot stop supporting the main street businesses. The biggest crisis we could face from this COVID-19 timeline is to see all the stores on main street and all the small businesses close due to the extended timelines we are now facing. The point is, small business owners need your help now more than ever before.

While COVID-19 will hurt everyone, it may not hurt everyone equally. There are two industries which may be hardest hit based on percentages by this crisis. Those two include the education sector and the event sector of the economy. Inconveniently at a moment like this, both of those are sectors, we here at MHP take pride in helping through the Spring season. With all schools being shut down for weeks on end with very little knowledge as to when they will officially reopen, companies which serve education are not going to have the same access to normal paychecks like teachers or bus drivers hopefully will. Companies which serve events are going to feel the lasting effects of COVID-19 for years to come which is why we urge people to postpone rather than cancel entirely.

Here at MHP, we are lucky to have the support of family and friends. We are extremely lucky to have the lasting support of fantastic customers by our side. We hope that tomorrow brings a healthier time for all in our beautiful state. If you want to learn about some steps we are taking to ensure the safety and health of our customers, their guests, and our staff, please see our previous blog post here: https://www.matthaslamproductions.com/post/mhp-response-to-covid19.

And if at all possible, please consider supporting some of the fantastic products our company offers on our online Merchandise store: https://matt-haslam-productions-merchandise.square.site/

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at matthaslamproductions@yahoo.com.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing a healthier tomorrow for all.

Matt Haslam,

Owner, MHP

March 13, 2020