Updated: Mar 23, 2020
By now, if you don’t know what’s going on regarding COVID-19, then quite frankly, you're living a blissful life of solitude on a remote island and right now, I’d like to join you.
First things first. We’re planting vegetable seeds and strawberry plants like we usually do this time of year and we're still moving forward with the 2020 season as planned. More to come on that front as the weeks go by. All this is an ongoing reminder of the potential impact to our farm and agritourism business if the virus, social distancing, and closures linger till the summer months.
Every day this week, our farm email or Facebook feed has been flooded with statements, responses, closures, cancellations, or even marketing spins to COVID-19 from companies we do business with or brands that we follow. I've struggled this past week with what our local farm business should say during this unusual time or if we should say anything at all.
I don’t know about you, but I'm so over the anxiety and the negativity surrounding COVID-19. It’s been a roller coaster of a week. I have transitioned through several emotions and opinions over the past ten days. What I have struggled with the most is the negativity. Don’t get me wrong, the positivity and unity are almost outweighing the negative, but man it’s been an eye-opener of some true colors. From harassment of an area woman who contracted the virus to politically fueled bashing of our Governor and President. I am over the hate and I hope you are too.
On the local level, I witnessed the raw emotion on social media a week ago today from our local bars and restaurants, when the Governor ordered their closure as a step to enforce "social distancing." As a business owner, my heart broke for these small business owners. Do I agree with some of the emotionally filled social media reactions I saw regarding the closures? Not completely, but I don’t blame these owners for having these reactions either. As a business owner, your heart and soul go into every ounce and corner of your business. Your business is your baby and you’ll fight to protect it and your employees like your own family. If you’ve never owned and operated a business with employees, it’s mighty easy to hide behind a computer screen and sound off about paying employees during a mandated closure. I wish it was that easy. Unlike bigger companies, small local businesses are not always capable of keeping employees on the payroll when the revenue isn’t coming in like it should be. We’re in a seasonal business so we understand that firsthand.
What really bothered me was the hate filled responses on social media to the local businesses sharing their concerns of having to close during this "social distancing" period. I witnessed another business just trying to make light of the situation, and their social media post was followed with negative responses about the business and its owner being insensitive to the situation. I really struggled with it. On one hand, I could feel the devastation of these business owners, but on the other hand I could understand the need to mitigate the spread of the virus. As the dust settled a bit by mid-week, it was amazing to see communities across this state begin to rally behind small businesses in one way or another. When this virus begins to fade and closures end, these small businesses will need this same outpouring of support in the weeks and months ahead.
If you haven’t figured this out by now, every single one of us is impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another and we’re going to have to put our big girl and big boy pants on and MAKE IT WORK. Yes, it stinks that schools are closed, spring vacations are cancelled, and we’re being asked to stay at home for a couple more weeks. Our economy is going to face some major challenges, but we’re going to have to get through this together. In a sea of COVID-19 related Facebook posts this week, one really put things in perspective for me. It went something like this: “Our grandparents were asked to go to war…… We’re being asked to stay home….” The sacrifices that we’re being asked to do, in my simple-minded opinion, don’t compare to the sacrifices of this generation. And let’s not forget this generation is also the generation most vulnerable to this virus. Just something else to think about.
Please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m all for standing up for what you believe in, but if you see something on social media that you don’t necessarily agree with and commenting to it will just make you feel better about yourself, then keep scrolling. BE NICE. BE SUPPORTIVE. And if you still feel compelled to say something, it’s as simple as the Golden Rule. If your political allegiance isn’t with our current Governor or President, remember they’re doing the best they can do during this unprecedented situation. Would you want the weight of these decisions impacting our country on your shoulders?
Finally, to all small business owners, researchers, physicians, nurses, nurses aides, janitors, grocery clerks and stockers, farmers, growers, truck drivers, distributors, drive-through restaurant servers, delivery persons, volunteers, political leaders and for each person who has kept this country moving forward, thank you.
Greg & Mariah Anderson