There's no question that small businesses are suffering under the coronavirus shutdown. Many are struggling to stay afloat. Now is the time for local governments to do everything within their power to help these businesses find creative ways to keep the lights on, not shut them down.

Dear Elected Officials,

The Wild Animal Park in Chittenango has been closed, like most non-essential businesses in New York. Of course, an animal park still has to care for all their animals, whether there are guests visiting, or not. Not long ago, The Wild began hosting a drive-thru safari - so patrons could enjoy their animals from socially-distant safety of their vehicles, and The Wild could finally earn some revenue to meet their expenses.

Yesterday, The Wild was served with a lawsuit and ordered to stop hosting the safari. Owner Jeff Taylor said in a Facebook post this move by the Town of Sullivan could mean the end of the The Wild, for good.

This is not how you support small-business. While the grounds for the suit are reportedly violations of zoning and town codes, now is the time for enlightened officials to use their better judgement to help a business that has brought delight to thousands of people. It's not the time to deal a death blow.

My dad always used to tell me "you don't kick a man when he's down." That's exactly what officials are doing. The drive-thru safari is clearly a temporary move, meant to help support the park while its doors are closed. Help the park by granting a temporary waiver to whatever codes they're violating. Don't kick them when they're down, and add the expense of a lawsuit on top of that.

Our small businesses deserve better than this. They need the support of patrons, their communities, and of small government. If local government isn't a voice for the local business person, what's the point?

Do the right thing. Help The Wild Animal Park survive by allowing the drive-thru safari. 

How can you help The Wild?


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