How Will We Survive?
January of 2020 turned into an interesting month.
We realized that COVID-19 was spreading and we needed to do something quickly to manage it. That undertaking lasted about six weeks or so, and when the dust settled we were left with a catastrophe. We’re now sitting indoors, homeschooling our children and worrying about how we are going to pay the bills when 22 million of us do not have jobs.
Now it is the middle of April, and most governors have extended stay at home orders through the end of the month or sometime into May and June. At that point, they MIGHT start opening select businesses and allowing us into certain public places.
Most states are seeing such huge increases in unemployment cases they cannot even answer all the calls for help from those that have lost their jobs. The increase in food stamps applications has really put states at a dangerous level of staffing, especially when most people cannot go to work.
The hardest hit of all are the local shops owned by people who now cannot open due to this virus and find themselves having to file for unemployment.
The problem is, they still have to pay business expenses (rent, electricity, etc.) even though they aren’t open to recuperate any of that money. And if they can somehow keep afloat until May, a “phased” re-opening of the economy means the boom they once hoped for when they go back to work may not come.
Then there are the stimulus checks. These will relieve some of the stress we’re feeling, but when we don’t know what the future might hold, how can we even begin to make plans for them? Paying bills seems the most likely use of this money, so how much does that leave to spend on things like going out to dinner or getting our car fixed once the pandemic is over?
Most of us were stocked up on things like food, so when the outbreak hit, we did not have to run out to the grocery store to cover our needs. We had what we needed on hand. So, while other people were panic buying and straining an already over-taxed grocery system, we were sitting in our homes eating just fine and not worried about where our next meal was coming from or where we were going to get toilet paper.
While we as a nation try to figure out how long this will last, what we are going to do, and when we think it will end, let’s consider shopping at our locally owned businesses (the ones that managed to survive) once this is done. That includes stores, hair salons, restaurants, coffee shops, and much more.
We as a nation are hoping this pandemic comes to an end at least by May so we can enjoy our summer and enjoy these gas prices (for a hot minute, before they go up). Even at that point, some people will continue to struggle with basic necessities due to losing their jobs or people hoarding away supplies.
They say worry takes away today’s peace, but how are we going to anything but worry? Are we supposed to think everything will be alright at the end of this and just hope for the best? A little planning for the aftermath, clearly, is in order.
So, while we sit around trying to figure out how we are going to make it through this week, let’s also be thinking about what we are going to do for our local businesses. Are we going to be in a financial situation to support them and do our best to keep them in our city? Are we even going to have the energy to care that they are struggling? Hopefully some of them received assistance through the SBA and other organizations, but most likely it wasn’t enough and was too late, just like unemployment and the stimulus check was for us.
We should make it our mission to buy American, honor those who worked through this crisis, and when it is over to patronize those places that managed to get through it.