Nights turn into day, days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months. Many of us are asking when will it end? When can we return to our lives pre-C19? Do you remember those days when you could shake hands with a friend, hug a grandchild, high five an unknown stranger for whatever reason and go outside without fear of receiving or passing on this virus?
Our lives are different, and we know changes are just beginning. Still, last week’s announced bankruptcy filing of The Soup Plantation restaurants followed by this week’s news that Nordstrom’s is closing their North County Mall store is a reality check for those of you who haven’t ventured beyond your homes. To others who are venturing out, it is just another brick in the wall. Look around us, and you’ll see plenty of "for lease" signs hanging in windows of not only the long-ago shuttered businesses but, new buildings, strip mall storefronts, and offices throughout Escondido. And, we hear it is just the beginning?
It feels like this “just beginning” has been going on for quite some time already. Is it time to see this as an opportunity to come out even stronger once this is behind us? Yes, many businesses will not survive this pandemic, and each closed business or laid off worker has a fiscal impact on Escondido. Our City was working to keep up with the challenges of a robust economy and now must pivot to the realities of 25%+ unemployment, and significant sales tax revenue losses. The omnipresent challenge of meeting mandated share of pension funding is not the only concern for our City as State legislators are right now up in Sacramento scrambling to submit a budget rife with shortfalls.
Our restaurants are hurting as we all are aware of but, they’re not the only ones. The impact may not be as evident right now, but the effect on the auto industry, our schools, and so many other businesses we depend on daily to meet our needs are suffering.
Of course, this pales in comparison to the pain felt by families and friends across the nation who have lost parents, children, sisters, brothers, neighbors, and friends to this insidious virus. Our hearts pour out to them.
But, we can’t live in fear, and we can’t give up on the foundational values which this country was built. We must begin the process of picking up the pieces and cleaning up the debris left in the wake of this mess, responsibly of course. Let’s unite in our rights by which this country was built. Let’s stand up for each other and collectively pull each other up. Let’s work to set aside our differences for the overall good of the many. And let’s begin to rebuild and reshape the Escondido business community.
Please now more than ever consider joining the Chamber as we work to help rebuild and reshape our vital business community.
James Rowten (JR)