As we pass the three month mark CT seems to be coming out of hibernation just in time to greet the bears and other wild life, as well as face the next stage of this evolving public health emergency.
I wish we could say the same for the local economy and workforce, but it appears even with the lifting of restrictions for a whole host of establishments there are many that can't make it with the additional precautions and protocols put in place.
Other challenges are lack of employees who won't return to work due to issues with child care, the economic incentive of the federal supplemental unemployment compensation or a fear of what the next couple of months will bring, as far as the lack of a vaccination or long-term fix.
Restaurants are still struggling with the hybrid of limited indoor dining, as well as challenges of maintaining take out business and outdoor dining seasonal challenges. Fitness venues - gyms, yoga studios and other healthy life style locations - have had to make adjustments in a variety of ways and many just don't feel it's worth the effort to open just yet.
Retail stores are challenged to woo back their customers who are now used to going online, googling their choices and having their purchases arrive at their door within a day or two.
So as CT tries to return to "before," folks appear to be split, with many still staying close to home while others venture out amid a huge concern over another spike in the rate of positive tests. But so far CT has been holding its own.
The CT legislature is talking about how they would return to the Capitol but with dozens of state reps and senators facing health conditions/concerns they haven't gotten the right balance figured out just yet. More than likely it will be mid-July before we see any activity at the LOB. Currently it's still closed and many are keeping busy with zoom informational forums, task force meetings and other activities necessary to carry out the legislature's business.
Legislative leaders continue to hold regular conference calls to stay abreast of each of their caucuses and their activities. Candidates are looking for new ways to raise funds to qualify for the state public financing program. The use of program ads is now under review by the state elections commission, as their current policy requires an in-person event in order to purchase an ad in a fundraising program.
Life is starting to look up, but there's still no noticeable activity from the legislature to address the huge revenue shortfalls racking up. After the governor leverages the state's budget reserves (Rainy Day Fund) there will be a real crisis in how to find revenue or cut expenses in order to get CT out of one of the deepest holes I've ever seen.
Business are not in a position to kick in additional revenue, cities and towns are already laying off people struggling with the costs of accommodating the additional requirements for opening in the fall. Many residents, especially the middle class, who usually hold the state together, are still trying to figure out how they can remain afloat given the lack of employment and uncertain future. Unions say no way are they going to carry the burden. So to say it's going to be a challenge is an understatement.
Anyone with a silver bullet can step up now because without one, many will be returning to their caves to hibernate and hope this has all been a bad dream.