Published by People for Bikes
Resources for bicycle retailers and industry during COVID-19
We recognize that day-to-day life is changing for all of us. While we may be more physically disconnected than we’re used to, we are still one united community. First and foremost, we encourage you to follow CDC guidelines and stay up to date on local news, and most of all, take care of yourselves, your families, friends and neighbors.
PeopleForBikes’ staff of 25 dedicated individuals are working remotely across the U.S. to continue supporting riders and members of the bike industry. While we’re all making the best of the opportunity to spend more time at home, our mission hasn’t changed — we’re still working to make biking better for everyone.
PeopleForBikes is working to support the bicycle industry in this difficult time by asking federal, state and local governments to consider every bike shop as an “essential business” and to allow bicycling, for transportation or recreation, to continue where appropriate. These decisions will provide many levels of economic relief to businesses.
State and local levels: Classify bike riding and businesses as “essential”
State and local governments are implementing orders that restrict travel and business activities in their communities. These could have significant ramifications for bike shops and people who bike. To minimize the economic consequences the bike industry faces, we’re working to ensure that bike shops are treated as essential businesses, and that bike riding is classified as an essential activity. Thankfully, so far, local government orders have generally exempted physical activity and essential businesses that support the community.
For example, the City of Philadelphia identified bicycle shops as retail businesses that provide essential community services and are allowed to remain open during the crisis.
Many cities and states are still formulating their orders or helping local businesses interpret orders that have already been issued. We recognize some bike shops will opt to close, for a variety of safety and business concerns. If you believe it is appropriate to ask your city or state to keep bike shops open, we encourage you to send an email to officials that conveys these points:
Bicycling continues to be an essential transportation mode for many Americans, particularly those who don’t own cars–more than 10% of U.S. adults.
People are riding bikes now to respect social distancing protocols. Transit modes and ride sharing can’t guarantee the same protections.
Half the trips Americans traditionally make are three miles or less. Today, as more people work from home and avoid lengthy commutes, more trips are short, and these are easily completed by bike.
Local bike shops support these essential trips by providing community services similar to auto repair shops or gas stations.
Bicycling provides significant physical and mental health benefits that can counter the downsides of social isolation.
The clear designation of bicycle shops as essential businesses and bicycling as a permitted outdoor activity will provide clarity and relief to citizens and enforcement officials.
Business Closures and Activity Restrictions
PeopleForBikes is tracking which states have enacted restrictions on businesses that can remain open and activities that people can engage in to minimize the spread of the virus. Below is a summary of relevant state orders:
California: Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on March 19, 2020 enacting a statewide shelter in place policy. Additional details on this order are still being released by state officials.
Recreational bike riding: Guidance on California’s official COVID-19 website states that people may still engage in outdoor recreation as long as they “practice social distancing of six feet.”
Bicycle shops: We are uncertain of how bicycle retailers and service shops are affected by the order and we are awaiting clarification from state officials.
California official COVID-19 website: https://covid19.ca.gov
Connecticut: Governor Ned Lamont signed an executive order on March 20, 2020 closing non-essential businesses.
Recreational bike riding: Governor Lamont is urging all residents to stay at home. We are not aware of any restrictions on recreational activities such as bike riding at this time.
Bike shops: The order directs the Department of Economic and Community Development to create a list of essential businesses that will be permitted to remain open. That list has not yet been published.
Illinois: Governor JB Pritzker signed an executive order on March 20, 2020 enacting stay-at-home restrictions and closing non-essential businesses.
Recreational bike riding: People may “engage in outdoor activity, provided that individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements [as defined in the order], such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, running, or biking” because these are “essential activities.”
Bicycle shops: “Bicycle shops” are an essential transportation business and therefore may remain open.
Illinois official COVID-19 wesbite: coronavirus.illinois.gov
Recreational bike riding: We are not aware of any restrictions on recreational bike riding at this time.
Bicycle shops: We are uncertain of how this order will affect bicycle retailers and service shops, are awaiting clarification from state officials.
Nevada Health COVID-19 website: https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov
New Jersey: Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order on March 21, 2020 enacting stay-at-home restrictions and closing non-essential businesses.
Recreational bike riding: This order permits people to “engag[e] in outdoor activities with immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners while following best social distancing practices with other individuals, including staying six feet apart.”
Bike shops: We are uncertain of how this order will affect bicycle retailers and service shops, are awaiting clarification from state officials.
New Jersey official COVID-19 website: https://covid19.nj.gov
New York: Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign an executive order restricting activity and business in the state.
It appears that bike shops will be considered essential businesses in this order. Additional details on this order are still being released by state officials.
New York Health Department COVID-19 website: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home
Vermont: Governor Philip Scott signed an addendum to executive order 01-20 on March 20, 2020 closing all “close-contact” businesses, including ” gymnasiums, fitness centers and similar exercise facilities, hair salons and barbers, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors.” All other business must comply with the order’s requirements for social distancing.
Recreational bike riding: We are not aware of any restrictions on bike riding at this time.
Bike shops: It is our standing that bike shops are not considered a “close contact” business and may remain open at this time. Bike shops must comply with the social distancing requirement in the order.
Vermont Department of Health COVID-19 webpage: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus
Pennsylvania: Governor Tom Wolf signed an order on March 19, 2020 closing all “non-life-sustaining businesses.” Which businesses will be allowed to stay open is being determined based on petitions.
Recreational bike riding: We are not aware of any restrictions on bike riding at this time.
Bike shops: Bicycle repair services have been identified as a “life-sustaining business” and can remain open at this time. Click here to review the list. This list specifically states “sales not permitted.”
If you have questions or concerns regarding how these actions affect you or your business, we strongly encourage you to ask your government officials for clarification.
Federal level: Relief for small businesses + Section 301 tariffs
We’re continuing to advocate for greater federal government support of bike businesses. Stimulus for small businesses is on the horizon and PeopleForBikes will share all wins and new resources with you.
Current Senate negotiations on a third stimulus package could include additional provision for small businesses. These discussions will likely extend into the week of March 23.
PeopleForBikes signed onto congressional testimony with the Americans for Free Trade Coalition asking that Section 301 tariffs be immediately lifted.
We joined other trade associations in encouraging the National Economic Council to lift these tariffs as the bike industry faces new challenges amid the spread of COVID-19.
Check out some best practices from retailers across the nation published in BRAIN, and stay up to date with recommendations from the National Bicycle Dealers Association. SNEWS pulled together 10 tips for independent and specialty outdoor retailers facing major disruptions. For a comprehensive list of outdoor business resources, check out the Outdoor Industry Association’s hub for state, federal and global responses.
If your community is considering local parks or open space restrictions, the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) published this helpful resource and infographic making the case for going outdoors. PeopleForBikes has joined NRPA and other organizations in lobbying for safe access to the outdoors for transportation and recreation. We also signed a letter to the administration alongside other outdoor trade groups asking that public lands remain accessible where appropriate and that the recreation industry is included in future stimulus policies.
Thank you for your continuing support. Together, we can all keep making bicycling better for everyone. Please, stay safe, and we’ll see you out on two wheels soon.