By Tara Bitzan, Executive Director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
When the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was classified as a “pandemic,” some people started to panic. As it has progressed, that panic has grown, especially among business leaders. Will this cause a recession? Analysts are currently divided on that. It’s still too early to determine the long-term impact this outbreak will have on supply chains, manufacturing, and the overall economy.
It is a benefit that America went into this outbreak with some pretty significant strengths – unemployment at a 50-year low, strong wage growth, and record high optimism reported among small business owners. While that had us at a pretty strong foothold going into this, there is no doubt this pandemic will definitely slow economic growth, and it is going to pose a challenge for many businesses, and in turn many employees. A major determining factor of course will be how long the global pandemic persists.
It is reassuring to know that the state and federal governments are working to create unemployment benefits, tax credits, low or no-interest business loans and more. It is also reassuring to know that our local community has rallied quickly to be proactive. It’s incredible what the leaders in our health care systems, schools, and service sectors have been doing these past couple of weeks in preparation. Many of you won’t hear about the long hours in the evenings or on the weekends that individuals have been meeting and planning and working to prepare and do everything they can to lessen the impact of this virus on our community.
You can help them out by doing your part. Maintain social distancing, wash your hands, and practice proper respiratory hygiene, stay home if you can – all of the things you already know. But also be courteous, be respectful, be thoughtful in all that you do. Does your elderly neighbor need groceries? Can you postpone a medical appointment that isn’t important at this time? Can you watch someone’s kids while school is closed? Do your part to prepare for an outbreak and do your part to prevent an outbreak, but don’t panic and do your best to stay positive!
A unified community can overcome the greatest of obstacles with the least possible amount of damage.