The Covid-19 event will have a major effect to life on Orcas Island this spring and summer as services, restaurants, retail and tourism-related businesses are closed for an unknown length of time. A shorter duration it is hoped. Most likely it will take some time to return to normal.
Even in a “normal” year, many of our local businesses, their employees and service providers navigate a financial tight-rope. We can all help. If we don’t make the effort many of the services, businesses, employees that are the fabric of island life will be gone.
I have been fortunate to live on Orcas nearly 35 years. Our island has met the challenges of major wind and snowstorms. In 1999 a ferry boat rammed the Orcas landing. The dock was inoperable for months. The point is, let’s get creative, support our local economy and do all we can as individuals to be medically responsible for ourselves and for each other.
A beginning start at suggestions and ideas- add some of your own! Shop and buy local whenever possible. This simple act makes a huge difference. Landlords: Give tenants a forgiveness on rents during the Covid-19 event iff they agree to stay open for business. A closed store or empty building is usually a poor investment decision.
Banks: Defer principal and interest payments by extending a loan for six months at the end of the obligation, if they agree to stay open for business. Extending a loan with no payments due now reduces current financial pressure on a local business and employer.
County government- take the lead along with the chamber of commerce, San Juan County Economic Development Council, state and federal agencies; to provide a comprehensive directory – call number and email – and the informed persons to answers questions for business, employees and the independent self-employed persons seeking to access support and financial assistance.