Get out, support your local businesses

Last week, I wrote about some of the differences in the “reopenings” of our local states. West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania are following different schedules and using different techniques in their efforts to bring the states back to some sort of normalcy.

One of the big components is getting our businesses back up and running, which can then start to hopefully provide some of the jobs lost during the last few months as a result of this ongoing pandemic.

In West Virginia, we seem to be running full speed ahead with plans to get businesses back open, with several categories announced for the next week or so, right in time for the unofficial start of the summer season.

There are still going to be limitations, though, and we must be mindful of them. At the same time, if you are able to go out and patronize some of our businesses, I encourage you to do so, even if it is still a matter of pulling into a drive-through or using curbside at a restaurant for a little while longer.

Restaurants are able to open their doors, although they are only able to have half of their regular occupancy for dine-in options.

That, I’m sure, will be a big deal as residents are looking for opportunities to get some time out of the house with family and friends.

Medical offices have started to provide more of their regular services. Other local retailers, many of whom had completely closed in recent weeks, also are coming back.

It’s still a scary time out there, with a great deal of uncertainty, but these businesses are owned and operated by our neighbors and they need our support to keep going. The better off they are, the more opportunities to bring back jobs for our residents, and the stronger our communities become.

There is still a lot here that we can do without having to travel far, and I continue to encourage our residents to find ways to shop locally first before looking for other options.

Check in with a local restaurant before driving to Pittsburgh or even Wheeling for a meal out. Place orders with a local florist instead of going online. Go to a local grocery store, bakery or pastry shop.

They’re probably going to ask you to take extra precautions, and there will be a few inconveniences as a result of everything we’ve been going through, but the more support we give them the better off they will be for the future.

Really, that’s what this is all about. It’s going to take time for us to get back to “normal.” It’s going to be a slow process, not an immediate bounce back to where we were, but if we come together as a community, or a group of communities as is the case here in the Ohio Valley, we have a better chance of rebuilding.

It’s OK if you still don’t feel comfortable going out for an extended period of time. Order a take-out meal from your favorite restaurant, or see what services are available at other businesses that will limit your time around others. Everyone is taking these extra steps these days. Just show your support for the establishments that make up your town.

The state and county governmental entities are offering guidance on how to move forward, but it’s how we respond from here on out there will determine what happens in our communities in the long run.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)


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