It has been a tough three months or more for our nation, state and cities. My heart is breaking for all who are hurting both financially and personally as we deal with this crisis. We keep hearing this is the “new normal." I realize we will not be going back to what we were accustomed to in 2019, but am hopeful this is not normal moving forward. We have all been in a tailspin since March, trying to do our best with the situation we are facing. So, what have we been doing over the past months?
Since the beginning of the COVID‐19 crisis in the United States, the National Main Street Center (NMSC) and State Coordinating Programs like Main Street Alabama have been providing guidance and support to communities throughout the country, disseminating best practices, sources of funding, and other valuable tools to help small businesses and community leaders. The NMSC created a well organized, easy‐to‐use
directing users to the most relevant and useful resources for Main Street communities. MSA worked with Downtown Professionals Network on reopening strategies, and from that they created a website called
REOPEN Main Street
with targeted resources for community business and leaders. We then worked with Arnett Muldrow & Associates to release a series of videos providing specific strategies to aid businesses from e-commerce to social media.
We have maintained close contact with each of our Designated programs during this trying time. Rather than overwhelm our programs with information, we continue to share curated resources through regular
State of the Street
emails, daily for the first two months and now weekly. We convene bimonthly electronic meetings so that each program can report on the rapidly evolving situations in their communities and share all the creative ways they are helping their businesses respond to the crisis. Those meetings have been an outstanding example of Alabamians pulling together and helping each other! I have always been proud of our cities, am doubly so in this time.
We facilitated a call recently on how community leaders and businesses across the nation are dealing with recent events of protests, both peaceful and otherwise. A phrase that came from that call was “uncomfortably comfortable” which to me is highly preferred to the “new normal.” Working together and respecting one another is essential as we move forward.
Finishing on a bright note; Main Street Alabama is preparing to roll out our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan in our Designated cities, welcoming cities from the region to participate as well. Be on the lookout for a big announcement in the days to come.