Connecting our community, Overcoming COVID-19

Overcoming COVID-19

COLORADO SPRINGS — The coronavirus spread quickly throughout China, after the first known case appeared in Wuhan, in December. From there, we watched anxiously, as reports tracked the virus’ path across borders as international travelers unintentionally spread the infection around the world.

A government worker sprays disinfectant on a residential building in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. Hong Kong’s leader announced Tuesday that all rail links to mainland China will be cut starting Friday as fears grow about the spread of a new virus. (Chinatopix via AP)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first confirmed cases of coronavirus appeared in the U.S. on January 14.

Governor Jared Polis held a press conference on March 5, to announce the virus had made its way to Colorado.

Nearly three weeks later, Polis issued a statewide stay-at-home order, initially set to expire April 11, but since then, extended to Apri 26.

Governor Polis issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 20.

With those orders, restaurants, and retailers, salons and barbershops, gyms, movie theaters, and more have closed their doors or made drastic changes to how and when they conduct sales.

Schools announced shifts from learning in the classroom to logging onto the web, and learning from home for the rest of the year.

Many workers have lost their jobs or a significant amount of wages, and they’re filing for unemployment in record numbers.

The Federal government extended the tax-filing deadline to July 15 and issued economic impact payments for most Americans.

Overcoming COVID-19‘, a FOX21 Digital NOW special series, assessed the effects of the pandemic in Colorado Springs with insight from local experts, including an economist, business owners, and a therapist.

Laurel Prud’Homme of the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs says a high percentage of money spent locally, stays local.

“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 means a higher percentage of the money we spend supporting locally-owned businesses funnels into the city’s general fund, which helps pay police officers, fill potholes and more.

Boundary map of Downtown Colorado Springs created by the Downtown Partnership.

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

That means it’s crucial to support those businesses right now, as well as when the stay-at-home order is eventually lifted.

>> WATCH PART ONE

Good Neighbors Meeting House has opened up a neighborhood market, along with running its bar and restaurant.

“This kind of situation is when we’re all really, I think, called to kind of stir up what’s within us. Our own gifts, our own abilities,” said Russ Ware, who owns Good Neighbors Meeting House along with Yemi Mobolade.

They’ve created a new model for their restaurant in the Patty Jewett neighborhood of Colorado Springs, and are now operating a food market in addition to their still-running kitchen and bar.

And other restaurant owners have made similar adjustments.

Over at MacKenzie’s Chop House, customers can pick up the perfect T-bone steak and cook it at home; Ashley’s Attic is making sales in a unique way, over FaceTime. Terra Verde is also doing hybrid-online shopping, where if you see something you like on social media, you can call them and they will ship the item to you, or let you pick it up at the curb. Mountain Chalet is setting up personal shopping tours by phone, Bella Salon is dropping off curbside color kits so you can touch up your roots, Black Sheep is hosting virtual concerts and Kimball’s Theatre is streaming feature films.

Keeping your dollars in this community, benefits us all.

>> WATCH PART TWO

And resources are available to help small business owners, struggling to keep their doors open, as well as service industry employees who’ve found themselves out of work for, as now, an unknown period of time.

King’s Chef Diner, a Colorado Springs’ favorite since 1956, closed its doors during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Across the country, tens of thousands of those workers in about 275 cities have signed up for serviceindustry.tips. The site randomly generates the name of an out-of-work service industry employee and allows users to donate tips, of any amount, directly to that employee.

serviceindustry.tips allows customers to continue tipping out-of-work service industry workers.

Aaron Maynard is a local admin for the website. “In Colorado Springs, we have about 650 workers signed up,” he said.

Aaron Maynard is the local admin for serviceindustry.tips, a website that allows users to donate tips to out-of-work service industry workers.

“We’ve got almost sixty thousand page views since we started, and almost a thousand tips have been given in just Colorado Springs.”

Plus, the Downtown Partnership and a newly created site called Support the Springs have identified which businesses are open, where they are, how to buy their products, how to volunteer, and how to donate to organizations that will help them. 

>>WATCH PART THREE

Then there’s the inevitable impact on our local housing market, an effect FOX21 Digital NOW examined with the help of Laura Nelson. Nelson is Executive Director for the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado, a regional trade association that works with owners, managers, and suppliers in the rental housing industry.

“Those who can pay rent should continue to pay rent,” she advised. “Evictions will still go through once this pandemic is over and the courts are open again.”

In the meantime, several state and federal resources are available for those who are in need of financial assistance, including 2-1-1 Colorado and Help Colorado Now.

>> WATCH PART FOUR

To address the mental and emotional toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on so many of us, FOX21 Digital NOW checked in with Dannie De Novo, a happiness coach in Colorado Springs.

Dannie De Novo, a happiness coach in Colorado Springs, says lonliness can have serious, adverse effects.

De Novo talked about the effects of lonliness, something you may experience during isolation or quarantine.

“Now, more and more research is being done on the physical end,” De Novo said. “They’re saying [lonliness] is as detrimental to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, that it increases your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, [and] heart disease.”

Your best bet, she says, is to create a schedule and stick to it. Remember, the stay-at-home order does not bar you from getting outside to exercise, just do so at a safe distance (at least six feet) from others.

If you find yourself still feeling disconnected, stressed out, or depressed, resources, including virtual counseling, are available.

>>WATCH PART FIVE


FOX21 is doing its part to connect the community to local businesses as well. Find our full list here. If you’d like to add your business to the list, you’ll find a form here to do so.

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