Guest Editorial: Coronavirus And Our Neighbors, Our Community

By Recker McDowell —

Take a minute and think about our community and the impact the Coronavirus is having on so many of our neighbors who make up the backbone, the soul of our city, our region and state.

The impact is everywhere. That means our response and our efforts on the public health and economic fronts need to be comprehensive, community minded and focused on the Coronavirus’ myriad of impacts.

There are the public health concerns for our seniors, for those with underlying conditions that make them the most vulnerable to the virus.

There are all the health care workers (including nurses and others on the front lines at emergency rooms, doctors’ offices and urgent cares). Our local, on the ground health care system is being put to the test. We are also seeing innovations and best practices emerging that can help save lives and navigate this and future pandemics.

The Coronavirus’ impact on the economy and jobs is unprecedented. The virus’ reach goes well beyond the big stock drops on Wall Street. It is throughout the economy and our community. Schools and universities are closed. Events key for nonprofits, tourism and all kind of jobs have been canceled or postponed.

Tourism — a $3.1 billion industry in Scottsdale and a $24.4 billion statewide with jobs and businesses across the state — is also on the front lines of the Coronavirus’ negative impact on air travel.  Tourism accounts for more than 27,000 jobs in Scottsdale and 192,000 statewide. The Coronavirus is bringing all that to a halt with air travel coming to a standstill and events such as Spring Training baseball, NBA and NHL games all canceled. Think about the all the jobs (hotels, restaurants, bars, airlines, Uber/Lyft, car rentals) impacted by virus. Those jobs are the livelihoods for workers and small businesses. How are they going to survive shutdowns and pullbacks in travel and spending?

How are employers and policy makers going to react to that and try to mitigate the effects? It will test our economy, political and business leaders and our communities. It will test our collective will.

One key will be to have smartly crafted growth policies that will help not only big industries such as airlines get through the Coronvavirus, but also the small businesses and workers at the community and grassroots level.  Those approaches need to be the local and state levels in addition to what will be crafted in Washington.

Consumers, workers and businesses all need some clarity on what is going to happen. That has been a moving target (in part because of how the virus has spread and in part because of the political, economic and societal reactions to it).

Providing better clarity and reassuring consumers, workers and businesses of a collective resolve will help ease the fears and anxiety.

We need a community response to get through this. That means a collective effort throughout the marketplace and community. It means bridging political divides (including the ones related growth and development). It means advocates, patriots and neighbors coming together to help our community deal with this crisis and its aftermath.