This content was originally published by the Longmont Observer and is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
We're all in this together. We've heard this phrase a lot recently. It's encouraging to think about this when times are challenging. But, do we really mean it?
The Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce exists only because we are truly in this together. For over 130 years, we've celebrated, supported, and even cried with each other during events both large and small. But, we've never experienced something like COVID-19, and its related fall-out. We've never experienced the sudden shuttering of our economy leaving our families, friends and neighbors without work and in limbo.
The health issues surrounding COVID-19 present massive difficulties and issues that will have to be addressed. However, I wish to use this space to reflect on our business community - a place that provides so much good for so many people.
I am asking everyone to consider how they will work together as businesses begin to reopen. If we truly want to get back to some sense of normality, we should consider the fact that businesses provide jobs and livelihoods for tens of thousands of people in our area. The Chamber alone counts almost 800 businesses as members - representing 24,000 employees. Additional non-member businesses are facing the same challenges. So, let's think about what our support for those businesses and employees looks like.
If you are still employed and working from home, please remember that many have lost their jobs, their businesses and their way of life. Before you purchase goods and services, consider whether or not you can obtain what you need by shopping locally. It may not be as easy, but surely it's worth it.
One of the best ways to support businesses as they reopen is to practice extreme patience. It's not business as usual yet. Many businesses aren't fully opened, so they don't have their full staff, products and services. They are working hour by hour, day by day, to ensure that they are following guidelines while keeping their employees and customers safe. So, this means you might have to wait in line for service, accept that your favorite goods may not be available now, and that appointments are likely to be spaced fewer and farther between. Please respect and follow guidelines. We need to approach this in a win/win manner.
Lines, new surcharges, masks and other inconveniences may not be what we are used to, but patience with these measures will ensure that we are all able to get back to normal more quickly. Remember, when you experience small inconveniences, you are supporting a business that supports others and therefore supports our entire community.
If you can afford it, consider adding extra to your tips. Purchase gift cards to help provide much needed cash now. Donate to the Strongmont Fund (https://longmontfoundation.org/giving-solutions/strongmont-fund/) developed to provide much needed support locally, or choose a non-profit to support. Are all working diligently together to serve our community.
Finally, I know through my work and involvement in the community, that all businesses are essential to our collective well-being. We are in it together. In some cases, employees and business owners have been on the receiving end of other people's anger and negativity, a symptom I'm sure of frustrations and perhaps fear. I encourage everyone to be kind, be considerate, and again patient.
George Eliot said, "Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together." We've always been in this together. We've always known this and worked well together. We are being called upon, once again, to start acting together to begin the healing, the growth and the future we all want, need and desire. Let's act on it!
Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce