We need to go about our lives, support one another

Published 11:27 am Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Federal officials have said if a massive financial bailout for small businesses and individuals was not quickly approved, unemployment in the country could skyrocket to near 20 percent.

During meetings with Senate Republicans Tuesday about the need for the bailout, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said unemployment — as much as 20 percent — would be possible.

According to a story published by CNN.com, a 20 percent unemployment rate would be double the unemployment rate during the Great Recession and the highest in the United States since the Great Depression. That level of unemployment, the story said, would leave more than 32 million Americans out of a job.

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In New York City, orders by city and state leaders have shuttered restaurants and bars, leaving tens of thousands out of work at no fault of their own. But that order followed what was already a declining trend of people going to restaurants and bars due to the fear of the COVID-19 virus and orders to restrict the size of groups.

Locally, restaurants and other establishments have already had to change the way they do business. Many restaurants have moved to curbside and drive-through service only and have looked at expanding delivery services.

Currently, the team at the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau has worked to compile updated lists on restaurants and what services they are providing. As updates from state and federal medical officials change, so too has the need for those businesses, and others, to change.

In many cases, those orders and restrictions have changed daily — sometimes within hours.

All of this is to say that while we as a society have been asked to practice social distancing, we have not been asked to huddle in our homes, turn off the lights and await disaster. We have been asked to be smart and responsible, and to take appropriate measures to keep ourselves, our families and others safe in the way we go about our lives. Remember the words “go about our lives.”

Those who operate our local businesses — both large and small — need our continued support and patronage. They need us to continue to keep the local economy moving and thriving.

As tourism numbers naturally decline due to concerns about the virus, the support of local individuals for our businesses will become even more important.

Support our local businesses and make use of their services and products. They need us and we need them. It’s what a strong community such as Vicksburg and Warren County is supposed to do and is asked to do.