Overcoming COVID-19: Part One

Digital Now

COLORADO SPRINGS — FOX21’s Digital NOW is taking an in-depth look at the COVID-19 pandemic, how it’s affecting our town, and how our community can make a difference.

‘Overcoming COVID-19’ is a compilation of research done by FOX21 Digital NOW to help paint a complete picture of the economic impact on Colorado Springs, and what we can do now to shape a more positive future.

It all starts, not necessarily with how much you’re spending, but where.

“We know that when you spend money locally, more of that dollar stays in the local economy,” said Laurel Prud’Homme, Vice President of Communications for Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs.

That happens, she said, through a variety of ways, including the generation of local jobs. Plus, taxes from those sales contribute to the city’s general fund, which helps pay police officers, fill potholes, and more.

And it’s important for the entire region, Prud’Homme said, it’s just most obvious downtown, where we see the largest concentration of locally-owned businesses in the city.

“What we know is that when a downtown is strong, the rest of the community is strong. There’s more sales tax generated in one square mile of downtown than any other square mile of the city,” Prud’homme said.

Tatiana Bailey is an economist with the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs. She said, based on historic evidence, recessions last about 11 months on average. However, as this pandemic stretches on, she said there is a greater likelihood that our recovery will be longer and more difficult.

“Because some of these people that are on unemployment eventually, if things continue on the current path, those businesses are going to die,” Bailey said. “And once that happens, with that being almost 70% of GDP, then you start looking at this U-shaped recovery.”

That means unemployed people will not be able to find work once the stay-at-home order is lifted and, it’s likely to also mean we’ll see a drop in consumer confidence.

FOX21 Digital NOW talked to business owners and consumers, to economists and city workers to get a wide range of perspectives on the coronavirus crisis in southern Colorado.

Continue to follow Overcoming COVID-19 for more on this special five-part series.

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