In this March 7, 2020, file photo Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden acknowledges the crowd during a campaign rally in Kansas City, Missouri. Credit: Charlie Riedel | AP

Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support our critical reporting on the coronavirus by purchasing a digital subscription or donating directly to the newsroom.

Seemingly overnight, life changed — in Bangor, in Maine, and in the entire country — for almost all of us.

All of a sudden, we couldn’t be less than six feet away from anyone. Only the most essential of businesses were allowed to stay open.

An unseen enemy began killing thousands of Americans every single day, leaving people in Bangor and across the country looking for leadership.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

And every single one of us, to some extent, is scared. Scared of getting sick, scared of our family members getting sick and scared of the economic impact this pandemic is thrusting upon us.

As a small business owner, I’m incredibly grateful not to have had to shut down one of my businesses. That’s likely simply because of the nature of my business — a convenience store — and not because of any skill set or good fortune of mine.

Of course I’ve had to scale back and make dramatic changes — cut hours for some employees, limit capacity in the store — but all in all, I’ve been far better off than many other small business owners here in Bangor.

I’ve heard from other business owners across the state who’ve told me that they’re contemplating the most horrible decision of all: whether or not to close down their business entirely. They know that they — and the Mainers they employ — have to put food on the table for their families and pay their electricity bills, but what else are they supposed to do if not a single dollar is coming in?

And the suffering that millions of small business owners are facing across the country can also still be alleviated — but we need help from the federal government that they seem unwilling to offer.

But now — during this pandemic, with families lining up for nutritional assistance and many small businesses still left in the lurch — it’s become even clearer that Washington has failed us.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Every time I see Joe Biden, I become hopeful and inspired. He reminds me that in just six months, we have a chance to change all of this and elect someone who won’t turn his back on working Mainers.

As soon as it became clear that Maine’s small business owners like myself were going to be crushed by the economic devastation of this pandemic, Biden put out a detailed plan on how he would be giving us the lifelines we need right now — lifelines like increasing the capacity of the Small Business Administration with the extra funding it desperately needs right now, and making 100 percent sure with proper oversight that taxpayer money gets in the right hands, not the hands of rich Wall Street executives.

Let’s elect a leader who’ll give us the respect and dignity we deserve — not with empty promises and lies, but with real and proven results.

There are over 145,000 small businesses in Maine. Behind each of these businesses is an owner and a few employees. Behind each of these businesses, there are families that depend on the income and customers that depend on the products. Entire lives and livelihoods depend on each and every one of these 145,000 small businesses.

With Biden, we will get a leader that doesn’t forget about a single one of us.

Dan Tremble of Bangor is a small business owner.

Watch: Janet Mills outlines her plan to reopen

[bdnvideo id=”2969691″]