It has been four months since the COVID 19 Emergency was declared statewide by Governor Hogan and locally by Mayor O’Connor. After an initial shutdown period to limit virus exposure and “flatten the curve,” most businesses have reopened in one form or another and are trying hard to generate income and retain or reattract workers and remain safe. Mask wearing and social distancing are the new norm. The statewide unemployment rate for June, 2020 is 8.3 % (Frederick June data not reported yet). Despite being open, most are still struggling to generate sufficient revenue to sustain operations and to keep employees and patrons safe. The City has worked hard to support our business community over that time through micro-grants, postponement of fee/tax payments, free downtown parking for three months, curbside pickup program, outdoor dining, and promotion of buy local retail. We are beginning to look at programs to launch in the fall/winter to continue to support the business needs. Frederick County Public Schools and local day care providers are a crucial component of economic outlook as each contends with how to manage in-person classes and care in a COVID world.
Despite the challenges, there are many businesses and developers using this time to renovate, expand, and construct new facilities. This issue of Business ENEWS explores many of those projects including Visitation Academy Hotel, OxFibre Brush Apartments (former Goodwill) in Downtown Frederick, as well as Warehouse Cinema, Lidl Groceries and Megamart along the Golden Mile. Frederick continues to track forward in a positive direction for post-COVID recovery and advancement.
Hang in there and stay well !