We must come together to save our local economy

We must come together to save our local economy

Every morning for the past week, I have woken up with the same thought … “Well, that was a scary dream.”

A few seconds go by and I suddenly have another thought that races through my head … “This is not a dream. This is actually happening.”

I am not a mind-reader, but if I had to guess, I would bet just about every American has been waking up over the past 10 days with those very same thoughts.

The Coronavirus pandemic has taken over this world and stopped it dead on its tracks. Thousands of people across our country have tested positive for COVID-19 and more deaths are being reported as each day passes.

The threat from this disease is scary from a health standpoint. We know the virus is bad and no one wants to get it, but when you go beyond the medical world and take a look at what this epidemic is doing across the globe, it will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

The economy in this country is like an everchanging organism. One day its up, one day its down. The status of the nation’s economy in large part revolves around your political leanings or the television network in which you receive your news.

From the national economy, you take it down a step further and go into the state economy. For Oklahoma, the state’s economy is highly dependent on the oil and gas industry. You can usually get a pretty good idea on what the state economy is doing based on the price of oil at that time.

Down the ladder one more step is local economies or in many cases small-business economies.

This is where the Coronavirus will have its biggest impact.

Look at the City of Jenks and its local economy. What does the local economy need to thrive? A strong sales tax number.

While Jenks has been among the best in the state when it comes to sales tax revenue, that number is going drop dramatically due to the threat COVID-19 poses.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC), city officials and medical personnel across the nation are working diligently on ways to stop the virus from spreading, but some of those recommendations will do some serious damage on local, small-business economies like Jenks.

The City of Jenks is preparing to give the order that dine-in restaurants, bars, gyms and other entertainment venues are to close indefinitely. The city has already closed its main attraction, the Oklahoma Aquarium and has strongly encouraged its citizens to not be in public and not be in crowds of more than 10 people at a time.

Jenks city officials had no choice but to issue these mandates and make these suggestions to its citizens, even knowing the effect it will have on its local businesses.

The bread aisle at Reasors in Jenks was completely empty Wednesday. Photo/Kyle Salomon

This situation could crush the local economy here in Jenks and we need to prepare for the worst. For the most part, the only types of businesses that will have success are grocery stores and convenient stores.

The parking lot was empty Wednesday at Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant in Jenks. Photo/Kyle Salomon

Restaurants will still be able to offer to-go orders and curbside service to their customers, but it’s doubtful that will be able to make up for the loss of their dine-in business.

Usually busy with cars, the parking lot at River City Trading Post was nearly empty Wednesday. Photo/Kyle Salomon

Businesses that provide a great community service with their specialty products could also feel the impact as those products could be considered “non-essential” items.

When you look at Jenks businesses, the majority of local businesses fit those molds.

We have to do what we can as Jenks citizens to help our local businesses. This epidemic is not going to last forever and when it has passed, we can’t look back on these days and wonder what we could have done differently to prevent the downfall of our local economy.

Do not blame our city officials. They are simply doing what is in the best interest of the citizens of Jenks and that is their top priority, as it should be.

Local business owners and the Jenks residents need to come together and work with the city and work with the Chamber of Commerce to ensure our economy survives and we make it through this with our heads above water.

I am calling on the people of Jenks to step up and come together and save our economy. When making a purchase, stop and ask yourself, could I make this very same type of purchase using a local business instead? If the answer is yes, I urge you to do it.

Let’s put our money where our mouths are. Only together can we make it happen.

Kyle Salomon

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