By June Mathews
TRUSSVILLE — Alabama’s latest Great Debate kicked off in earnest this past Friday with Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth’s news conference announcing recommendations for reopening Alabama’s economy. Within minutes, social media was rife with brilliant internet-educated economists, epidemiologists, and political analysts, leading us Average Joes – or Junes, in this case – to wish we were that smart and insightful, too.
Or maybe not.
Regardless of the debate-worthiness of the medical vs. economic issues, however, we all have the same goals: doing everything humanly possible to eradicate COVID-19 and keeping ourselves and those we love safe from it in the meantime.
As you might guess, being that I’m a chamber of commerce employee and all, the Ainsworth announcement provided a ray of hope to those of us concerned about the viability of our business community. While no one wants to needlessly endanger lives, no one wants a collapsed economy and countless livelihoods lost, either.
I believe, however, that with a deliberate approach on the part of our government leaders and a huge helping of personal responsibility, we can strike a balance that promotes both physical and fiscal health within our communities.
As I write this, however, the timing of when and how this road to recovery will begin is yet to be decided. The recommendations put forth by Ainsworth and Rep. Danny Garrett, chair of Alabama’s Small Business Emergency Task Force Subcommittee to Reopen the Economy, were submitted to Gov. Kay Ivey, who continues to weigh them alongside the recommendations of State Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and other advisors to determine what’s best for the state.
But to my small business friends, I say: Your day is coming. That day when once again, you’ll be able to fling wide the doors of your place of business and invite customers in. That day when the healing from lost time and revenue begins. That day when you resume living the dream you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Between now and then, however, preparation for the “new normal” is key, and for a small business, that means preparing to provide as safe a place as possible for employees to work and customers to do business.
Not sure where to start? Refer to and follow the Centers for Disease Control’s Reopening America recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting. Lay in a supply of protective equipment, i.e., masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc. Post signage directed to employees and customers setting forth protective measures being taken at your place of business.
Do you have vulnerable employees? Then it’s your responsibility to determine how to best protect them, even if it means asking them to remain at home.
And remember, we’re all in this together. So if you have knowledge or resources that might help a fellow small business owner along the way, by all means share.
Are you in need of resources or referrals to help you with the reopening process? Your local chambers of commerce stand ready to serve. Please call us if we can be of assistance to you.
June Mathews, Executive Director
Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce