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Benjamin mindful of Columbia’s small business owners

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By Chris Cox
Published Oct. 6, 2015

Columbia residents were held under a second straight curfew Monday night, and those may continue throughout the week, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said.

Those curfews, however, may impact small businesses who need to be open. Benjamin understands those issues, but encourages owners to be mindful of the situation.

“We understand people have to live their lives, they have to conduct commerce,” he said. “People need jobs and larger corporations may be able to pay people who don’t show up, but that’s very difficult for small businesses.”

Benjamin said he has been in constant contact with Carl Blackstone, president and CEO of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, to help small business owners in any way they can.

“We’re all working together,” he said. “I think every business has to make its own decision. But I would ask to continue to keep in mind the safety of their employees. We want to make sure that everyone comes home safe.”

Benjamin said the city will pursue every avenue to help owners get any help they can, whether it be flood insurance or assistance from the Small Business Administration.

“We’re going to be very aggressive,” he said. “FEMA triggers different insurance opportunities for residents and commercial businesses. We will leave no stone unturned.”

Reach Chris Cox at 803-726-7545 or on Twitter @chrisbcox.

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