Panel: Colorado Springs experts answer questions as state gets back to business

Coronavirus

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — On April 29, FOX21 gathered a panel of local experts to answer your questions about going back to business under Colorado’s new “safer at home” order.

The panel includes:

  • Traci Marques, Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Workforce Center
  • Dr. Robin Johnson, Medical Director at El Paso County Public Health
  • Dr. Lindsay Gries, Director of Psychological Services at Aspen Pointe
  • Tatiana Bailey, Ph.D., Director of the UCCS Economic Forum

Here’s a recap of the questions we asked the experts. Watch each video to hear their answers.


Part 1

Dr. Johnson–What is the advantage to opening selected businesses on April 27, and then opening more on May 1? If anyone is infected on the 27th, the earliest we will know if there is an increase of infected people is May 11, and possibly not until May 18. If that is the case, why not open them all?

Ms. Marques–With 25 million people on unemployment and growing, what are the realistic odds of finding a job in the near future?

Dr. Gries–What if I am anxious or fearful about going back to work? How can I handle these emotions?

Dr. Bailey–How do small businesses prioritize payments, such as payroll, rent, SBA loans, etc., when consumer confidence might be lower than before?

Dr. Johnson–For so long, there weren’t enough tests available, and people were told not to get tested unless recommended by a doctor. And even then, only the most severe cases were able to be tested. Are there enough tests for everyone now? And at what point should I get tested?

Ms. Marques–How many companies will hire new people to work remotely on a permanent basis?

Dr. Gries–What can I do as an employer to make sure the mental health needs of my employees are being met?

Dr. Bailey–Does a phased opening actually help, or will it just cost businesses more to open a storefront? How do I decide whether or not to reopen?

Dr. Johnson–I know this question has been asked before, but it begs to be asked again. Can you get reinfected with the coronavirus?

Ms. Marques–How do you handle employees who want to stay at home because they are making more money from unemployment?

Dr. Gries–What signs should I be looking out for in my child to know if they are struggling emotionally? What can I do to help them?

Dr. Bailey–If a business is still struggling financially, what help is available to them?

>> Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center

Dr. Johnson–I am an employee who is required to go back to work. What steps can I take on my own to keep myself safe? Should I be wearing a mask and gloves at all times?

Ms. Marques–If a business reopens and someone claims they got sick there, what is the business’s liability?

Dr. Gries–What signs should I be looking out for in myself that maybe my mental health is struggling?

Dr. Bailey–Which businesses are going to struggle the most under this next phase, and what can they do to make the most of the situation?


Part 2

Dr. Johnson–There are a lot of different symptoms related to COVID-19. Which ones are the most important to look out for?

Ms. Marques–If a company calls employees back to the office, but I don’t feel comfortable, can I continue working from home?

Dr. Gries–Where is the best place to find mental health help? Are there any free resources available?

Dr. Bailey–If a brick-and-mortar business has been taken over by online competition, is it even worth reopening?

Dr. Johnson–In this new phase, can I hang out with my friends or family as long as it is less than 10 people?

Ms. Marques–Where are the best places to look for work, and what jobs are available right now?

>> Connecting Colorado

Dr. Gries–There is so much uncertainty right now because of the coronavirus, from financial to job security to health to recreation and travel. How do you manage all of these unknowns?

Dr. Bailey–Does the minimum wage bill that was passed with intent to help individuals now hurt small businesses by not giving them flexibility when it comes to pay?


Part 3

Dr. Johnson–Is it necessary for businesses that are reopening to do a deep clean before letting anyone go into the building?

Dr. Gries–As a person at risk, how should I react to those not taking social distancing seriously?

Dr. Bailey–What is the economic forecast for the Colorado Springs area? Are consumers choosing to put money back into the economy?

Dr. Johnson–Is the coronavirus mutating like the flu does each year? If so, how will that impact finding an effective vaccine?

Dr. Marques–Can an employer reject someone with an underlying health condition from returning to work?

Dr. Gries–I am struggling with not being able to see my family right now. It’s more difficult because I don’t know when I will be able to see them again. What can I do to feel better about this?

Dr. Bailey--Should I be worried about my 401(k) or other stock investments? Should I be buying more stocks? What is the best way to plan for my future right now?

All four panelists–Final thoughts?

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