The past four months feel like four years. When are we finally going to get back to at least some sense of normalcy?

Perhaps you, like us, are frustrated. What can one person do?

You can help end the recession. It will take you 15 minutes.

Here’s the problem we’re trying to solve:

The Payroll Protection Plan, which supported businesses keeping employees on staff has expired for almost all local businesses. The extended federal unemployment is scheduled to expire Aug. 1. Both programs made a big impact to jumpstart the economy after the quarantine shutdown.

Do you feel like we are home free? Most of us think there is still a long way to go before we return to normal.

What will happen to our economy as the money runs out?

With the expiration of the extended unemployment benefits and PPP for businesses, we are potentially on a train whose bridges across the dual chasms of global pandemic and economic depression are only half built.

We can’t get across this economic depression and global pandemic safely to the other side without an extended bridge of economic assistance. The raging river 1,000 feet below the tracks is there to greet us, if we don’t act. We are quickly running out of economic support railroad track.

Fortunately, Democrats and Republicans are beginning to coalesce around an idea call RESTART. The idea is to extend the small business payroll support program – but only for those businesses with a demonstrated need. This new round of money would only go to businesses whose revenue was down 25% over the prior year.

The current bipartisan proposal would allow the hardest-hit to restart their businesses and receive support for six months for up to 45% of fixed costs, benefits, and payroll capped at 45% of last year’s revenue. Companies would still have to be responsible for a large amount of costs, but this simple concept allows our main street merchants a fighting chance.

What good is it if we just extend unemployment benefits if there are no jobs to come back to? Let’s put folks on businesses’ payroll instead of on unemployment.

Now, here’s how you can help:

If you are an individual, we urge you to help end the recession and support your local businesses. Just send an email to your congressman and senators. See the contact information below. It will take you 15 minutes.

We guarantee if 1,000 people from Highlands email about their favorite local business needing help, we will get Washington D.C.’s attention.

If you are a local chamber – this is your time. If the local chamber emails our U.S. senators asking for support for our hardest-hit local businesses, our senators will know about it.

If you are a city council or county commission member – this is your time. If a local city council member emails our congressman, he will know about it.

We are slowly, but surely, trying to get safely home on a wild train ride. We need this bridge extension built to get across the twin chasms of a global pandemic and economic depression. If you write it, they will build the bridge.

It’s only 15 minutes of your time. Will you help?

Contact Rep. Greg Steube at 202-225-5792 in Washington, DC or 863-499-3214 in Lake Placid, or email him by going to his website, steube.house.gov, click on the Contact button and fill out the email form. To contact Senator Marco Rubio, call 866-630-7106 or email him by going to his website, rubio.senate.gov, click on the Email Me button and fill out the email form. To contact Senator Rick Scott, call 407-586-7879 or email him by going to his website at rickscott.senate.gov, at the bottom of the page, click on Contact Rick to get to his email form.