Top Headlines: Frustrations mount for small business owners, Goodyear to close Gadsden plant

Frustration, pressure mounting for Alabama small business owners
The owner of Flex Fitness in Irondale, Teddy Zane, is facing mounting pressure from a growing pile of bills as Alabama’s economic shutdown continues due to the coronavirus outbreak. Zane said the statewide stay-at-home order could eventually cost him his business that’s worked 12 years to build. “The governor wants to say, ‘Oh, we’re all in this together.’ We’re not all in this together,” Zane told WVTM 13’s Lisa Crane. “It’s a very unfair playing field because Governor Kay Ivey is probably still getting a check. But she’s forced me to get no money.” – WVTM

As many feared, Goodyear now plans to close Gadsden plant
Goodyear plans to permanently close its longtime tire plant in Gadsden, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The closing of the plant, which dates to 1929, is part of the Ohio-based company’s strategy to strengthen the competitiveness of its manufacturing footprint by curtailing production of tires for “declining, less profitable segments of the tire market,” Goodyear said in the filing. – Beacon Journal

In horrifying development, the Southern buffet may fall over COVID-19
J.J. Nelson misses seeing his loyal customers, including a 103-year-old woman who showed up without fail every day to the Barnyard Buffet in Saraland for a meal and camaraderie. Nelson’s buffet serves up over 40 offerings on two hot tables to a mostly older and loyal following of diners who will flock to the Barnyard after Sunday church services where diners will dish out their own food from serving containers. Nelson’s customers are on his mind when he contemplates a reopening, which he worries cannot be done without health risks. –

Honda says plant in Lincoln will stay down through May 8
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama said Thursday it has extended a production suspension and worker furloughs into May. Honda said the changes are necessary as the carmaker takes steps to align product supply and business expenses with market demand. Stay-at-home orders in many states and cities have hurt new vehicle sales across the country. The plant suspension will now last through at through May 8. – WBMA

How are Alabama lawmakers planning for the COVID-19 financial impact?
Alabama’s finance director estimates the state’s shortfall from COVID 19 might approach $1 billion, impacting both the education budget and general fund budget. State lawmakers are examining what that impact may mean for state services and next year’s budgets, which take effect October 1. – WBMA

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Despite reopening chatter, legislators kill most bills to avoid meeting
The Alabama Legislature made the decision Thursday to kill all statewide legislation in a move to end the 2020 regular legislative session as quickly as possible. The decision was made to deal only with budgets and members’ prized local bills. The decision kills all of the prison and sentencing reform bills, the medical marijuana bill, Rep. Steve Clause’s (R-Ozark)’s simple lottery, permit-less carry of handguns, Medicaid expansion, the Poarch Creek Indian’s plan to pay the state $1 billion for a de facto gaming monopoly, and effectively everything not signed by the governor in the first 14 days of the 2020 legislative session. – AL Political Reporter

For Calagaz Printing, it’s 153,000 protective face shields and counting
A south Alabama printing company is helping front-line health care workers at home and across the U.S. fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Mobile-based Calagaz Printing Inc. had produced about 153,000 protective face shields as of April 22, the result of collaborating with local hospitals and shifting its operations to meet a crucial need. Production is continuing on the project, which began four weeks ago, said Michael Cuesta, the company’s director of sales who initiated the idea. – AL NewsCenter

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