Coronavirus continues to rampage across the country devastating not only individuals, but businesses and the American economy. This week, over 6 million people filed for unemployment as companies rapidly layoff employees and try to fight off closure.
In response to the rapid decline of production, the U.S. government has tried to help out by providing a historic stimulus package. Right now, what’s feeling the most harmful effects of the virus's economic impact are small businesses. Under this stimulus package, local companies may apply for a $10,000 emergency grant in addition to forgivable loans up to $10 million scaled to how many people the business employs.
Sadly, for most, this may just be a Band-Aid, only delaying the worst.
The City of Auburn has decided to further help out by providing loans up to $25,000 through a coalition of banks. The longer social distancing is in effect, the longer people stay in their homes and don’t participate in the economy as usual. Auburn City Council has done a great job acting quickly and making this loan program available even before the government relief comes. As positioned right now, businesses may be able to last a few extra weeks.
What’s just as important is for all those that are able to pitch in to help in whatever way they can. This only applies to those that are in a position to give to others; if not, that is absolutely acceptable. These businesses employ members of the community, so if they’re hit hard, citizens are too. The first thing is to try and take care of yourself and your family during this hardship. Then, the next priority is to look for a way to support the community. The first way to do that is to recognize who is continuing to put themselves at risk for the sake of our necessities.
That is because there are members of our community whose jobs have continued through this pandemic — and may have even gotten busier. Medical professionals have spent day and night fighting this virus, and engineers have been testing new devices to convert things like CPAP machines into emergency ventilators for hospitals.
Also important are the thousands of food delivery people, truck drivers and grocery store employees who have kept essential goods flowing throughout the economy. Whether it's bringing pizza to people stuck inside or restocking shelves of bread, milk and toilet paper, these people are continually risking their health — and the health of their loved ones — to do their job. Without these essential workers, Americans would be faced with food and goods shortages on top of the growing virus outbreak.
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All of that is to say that we, the quarantined masses, should be especially thankful of the people who are working through this crisis to retain some sense of our normalcy. Hopefully, once all of this is over, we as a community will remember the work that these essential workers have done and will compensate them adequately. Times of crisis can be useful to a society if they learn from it.
Currently, many restaurants in the Auburn area are offering services to the public that don't put people at risk. The Bean is offering cinnamon roll pick up days that allow customers to come and get their pastries with minimal exposure. Takeout and delivery, when possible, is essential for these businesses to survive. We strongly encourage you to research which of your favorite local eateries are offering particular service during this time and make sure to support them. Without it, they might not be around once this is all over.
Because, this will be over. Eventually, we will return to a sense of normalcy. We will be able to laugh with each other in coffee shops and go on first dates in restaurants again. But for now, we are all in a situation where cooperation and social distancing is essential. Simultaneously, there are members of our community whose jobs — especially in times of crisis like these — require them to put themselves at risk. They do it for a paycheck, but they also do it for the rest of us. The least we can do is order a pizza.
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