According to Amy Poulter at the Virginia Gazette, “Williamsburg Live canceled — The latest music festival to be scrapped is the Virginia Art Festival’s Williamsburg Live, originally scheduled for June 26–27 on the Lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.” So why are they cancelling an event for the end of June if our stay at home orders are only through June 10th? Do they have insider information that the goal posts will be moved again? Or are they fearful of a last minute cancellation so are taking the time necessary not to have a stressful cancellation at the last minute? In any case, this does not bode well for our local tourism economy.
Some residents have been in lockdown in their homes since the last day kids were able to go to school (March 13). It’s now getting close to the end of April and we are being told that Summer activities are already becoming casualties of the COVID Pandemic. With this long range cancellation, what could that mean for your small business?
Should businesses be paying property tax on a property they can’t use? If the doors are closed due to a Government order, why should they pay the little amount they may have saved to the government in the form of property taxes? The County Board of Supervisors has been silent on this issue as they are struggling with a budget shortfall. It’s unlikely they will give small business a tax break. Local county government is more than willing to take your tax dollars in good times and in bad, but your business receives no benefit during a crisis.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU
There is a good chance that if you own a small business that is dependent on tourism funds you will have much longer to wait before you are allowed to reopen. But don’t forget to pay your taxes to the County or you may lose your business license.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you are one of the many small businesses who applied for SBA Economic Income Disaster Assistance or the Paycheck Protection Program and have received nothing, you need to contact your locally elected officials and ask for tax forgiveness at the local level. You have no other options at this point except going out of business and that would reduce the County’s income for years to come.