When local businesses shut down this spring, many of us hoped life would get back to normal by summertime. Yet the Fourth of July weekend saw 53 active cases of COVID-19 in Park County, the highest …
When local businesses shut down this spring, many of us hoped life would get back to normal by summertime. Yet the Fourth of July weekend saw 53 active cases of COVID-19 in Park County, the highest number since the pandemic hit our area in March.
For residents and businesses alike, 2020 has felt like an unwelcome rollercoaster ride with rising coronavirus concerns and rates, plunging economic conditions and uncertainty about what’s coming around the next corner.
In some states, reopenings have been scaled back as cases of COVID-19 spike. The same could happen here, which is why it’s important to continue following common-sense measures to combat COVID-19: Wear a mask in public places where you’ll come into close contact with others, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing and stay home if you have any symptoms.
We appreciate how local businesses have adapted to meet the community’s needs amid the ongoing pandemic. For example, both of Powell’s grocery stores have expanded their services; Mr. D’s Food Center has offered home deliveries and curbside pickup, and Blair’s Super Market recently launched a to-go service with curbside pickup.
If you’re not comfortable with eating in a restaurant just yet, many offer takeout and curbside pickup.
While supporting local businesses may look different in 2020 — such as wearing a mask as you shop — it’s important to find ways to continue shopping locally, especially this year. Small businesses remain the backbone of this community. When they thrive, we all benefit — and when they struggle, we all feel it.
A statewide campaign called “Shop Smart — Shop Safe” recently launched to highlight the importance of supporting Wyoming’s economy by shopping locally. The “Shop Safe” portion of the campaign focuses on new safety standards, such as increased sanitation and alternative ways to shop.
The “Shop Smart” campaign focuses on how to help businesses recover “from a post-pandemic world,” the Wyoming Business Council said in a Tuesday newsletter about the campaign, which is a collaboration with Wyoming Main Street, Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce and Wyoming Economic Development Association.
Businesses also continue to encourage social distancing, and some require employees to wear face masks. While mask usage is far from universal, more people in Powell are beginning to wear face coverings in public. It’s a trend we would like to see rise, especially since wearing masks may help curb infections.
Mask use studies specific to COVID-19 show their usefulness in slowing the spread of the new coronavirus, said Dr. Aaron Billin, Park County health officer.
“Mask use is the single most important thing that we can do to help businesses stay open and support economic recovery in Park County,” Billin wrote last month.
He also encouraged people to separate the science from the politics when it comes to masks and social distancing.
“You can only change someone’s mind when you share mutual respect and you make it apparent you have their best interest at heart,” Billin wrote on Monday. “It won’t be done with self righteousness, gotcha comments, belittling, and attempts to embarrass that we see so often on social media.”
Sometimes doing the right thing and looking out for others can be uncomfortable. Many people are tired of staying home, and wearing a mask in public isn’t always easy.
But as a community, it’s in all of our best interest to continue supporting one another and local businesses as safely as possible.