Chamber business members weigh in on impacts of pandemic at US Senate committee field hearing

U.S. Senator Rand Paul was in Lexington Thursday morning speaking to small business owners on how COVID-19 has impacted their day-to-day operations, workforce, and bottom line over the past year due to government-mandated shutdowns and regulations. Paul is the ranking GOP member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and several Kentucky Chamber of Commerce members were on hand to join in the discussion.

Adam Hinton, Vice President of Hinton Mills in Flemingsburg and the co-chair of the Kentucky Chamber’s Agriculture and Equine Policy Council, said the pandemic had created several open positions within his company, and that they were having trouble filling those positions due to federal stimulus checks and the continuation of federal unemployment benefits.

Aaron Anderkin, President of Integrated Sign and Graphic in Lexington and a member of the Kentucky Chamber’s Small Business Council, said his company’s revenue numbers had taken a hit of nearly 35 percent from year over year prior to the pandemic forcing them to shift operations. He also said that nearly 80 percent of the company’s planned jobs were cancelled between April and June of 2020. Anderkin added that he was concerned with the long-term impacts of the federal stimulus packages on the nation’s economy.

Speaking to the events industry in the Commonwealth, Kaelyn Query of the Lexington Event Company said her industry had especially been hit by the suspension of large gatherings amid the pandemic.

“We just had so many questions of what to do and who to listen to,” Query said. “Our industry doesn’t have an association in Kentucky, so we relied heavily on the Kentucky Chamber for guidance.”

Query, the Chair of the Kentucky Chamber’s Small Business Council, said things are starting to look up for her business now with gatherings re-opened to 60 percent capacity, but that her company’s revenue numbers were also impacted severely by the shutdowns.

Senator Paul engaged all the speakers and said he agreed with the actions taken by state lawmakers to reign in Governor Andy Beshear’s powers during the 2021 legislative session.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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