The coronavirus pandemic has escalated quickly and the effects of this global problem have landed in Peekskill.
In terms of public health, the City of Peekskill announced yesterday that there have been 8 positive cases of COVID-19 in the city.
In terms of economic impact, New York State has been put on PAUSE, meaning all "non-essential" businesses have been forced to close. Obviously the ramifications of this are going to be devastating to the local economy.
What are considered "essential" businesses? Here's the list from the state. Critically for Peekskill's economy, food service is considered essential, but restaurants and bars can only serve food/drink via take out or delivery.
Other essential services still operating and critical to Peekskill's economy: grocery stores, pharmacies, health care, taxi service, hotels, gas stations, hardware stores, banks, child care, auto repair, and construction.
We at Peekskill Exurbanist have been all about #SupportLocal since Day 1. Peekskill is a community of small business, of entrepreneurs taking a gamble on this rivertown with the hope of revitalizing it and making it the fantastic, vibrant, beautiful place we all know it could be.
And there's been so much progress in the past few years, we can't afford to let this pandemic stop that momentum, or worse, erase that progress. Those of us who live, work, and play in Peekskill need these businesses to survive, so in the aftermath of this crisis we still have a city.
The economic effects of the pandemic are squeezing everyone. We know people in vastly different industries who are already facing layoffs, and facing the financial uncertainty that comes along with that.
So how do we support local while protecting our own financial security?
It's a difficult question, without an easy answer. But we have to realize that if these small businesses can't weather this storm, the economic fallout here in Peekskill will remain far after the restrictions are lifted. The restaurants and bars have played a huge part in Peekskill's recent revival -- they're part of what attracted a lot of us exurbanists to Peekskill in the first place.
Bottom line: support our local businesses in whatever way you can, with as much as you can during these tough times. It's an investment in the survival our small town. This crisis will end, but we can help define how things look on the other side. Let's make sure the Peekskill we fell in love with -- the community, the excitement, the innovation -- remains.