Mike Askerlund: Small businesses can’t wait much longer

Mike Askerlund

Dear Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney of Utah and all senators across our nation,

Our small businesses are on the ropes. We implore your immediate and full efforts to help save our livelihoods, take action and pass additional COVID-19 relief. We can’t wait much longer.

We are a collective of entrepreneurs in Salt Lake City. We are restaurant and bar owners in the hospitality industry who have been doing our level best to keep our community safe, our staff employed and our tax base stable. Collectively, we employ thousands of employees and contribute millions to our state’s revenue. We are a critical piece of the hospitality infrastructure that facilitates a vibrant tourism and conference industry that brings people across the globe to our city and state each year.

Because of the pandemic, our businesses are on the verge of going under. With patrons understandably staying home to stay safe, revenues have fallen below the point of sustainability. Yet we work every day because we have a community we love, employees who rely on us and a belief that these struggles will come to an end.

The question we ask now is: “Will we be here when that happens?” You, as senators, have the power to make decisions that could keep us afloat, offering the possibility that we will be here to fully reopen as the virus comes under control. Without action, we are likely to not make it.

We stepped up to put public safety first. We closed temporarily, limited capacity and adjusted our business operations to do our best in this pandemic. Now, we need you to work as hard as we are to keep our employees’ livelihoods and our local economy stable.

This is not a call for handouts. As the pandemic began, we came together as a service community in partnership with our local governments and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep our staffers off unemployment. With COVID-19 raging on, largely uncontrolled, we will be unable to keep our doors open much longer.

We invite you to come meet with us and our employees, virtually, of course, and gain a deeper and personal understanding of the domino effects of letting businesses like ours shutter when you could be doing something to save them.

Small businesses account for 99.9% of all businesses in America, and the leisure and hospitality industry is one of the largest job sectors in Utah.

We are here. We are drowning from a cause outside our control. We need your help.


Your constituents and business owners.

Mike Askerlund

Mike Askerlund is the owner of Alibi, a bar on Main Street in Salt Lake City. He speaks on behalf of Save Utah Jobs and these Utah businesses: Alibi, Bar X, Beer Bar, Beer Hive, Bodega, Brass Smoothies, Cancun Cafe, Copper Onion, Copper Common, Good Grammar, Cotton Bottom, The Garage, Tradition, Copper Kitchen, Cucina, Blended Table, Publik Coffee, Nohm, Nomad, Oquirrh, Park Cafe, Quarters, RUIN, Rye Diner, SLC Eatery, Stoneground, TF Brewing, Pretty Bird, The Daily, Este Pizza, Tradition, Public Ed’s, Publik Kitchen, Undercurrent, WaterWitch, Mazza, Sappa, Purgatory, Hell’s Backbone Grill, Taco Taco, Pago, Red Iguana and Laziz Kitchen. Learn how to sign on at SaveUtahJobs.com.