COLORADO SPRINGS — The worry COVID-19 sparked among the Colorado Springs business community began before restaurant seats went empty, before hair cuts were stopped, and before people could no longer go to the gym.
Last Friday, business members met about the impact the pandemic would have for them.
Already worried about suggestions to limit large gatherings, some worry about how many days they would make it without any customers, according to Lauren McKenzie.
“[It’s being] around to see the eeriness of a downtown that’s normally bustling with people,” she said.
Governor Jared Polis announced that these changes that public health experts agree upon will significantly contribute to curbing the massive spread of the novel virus.
It has already resulted in the layoffs of tens of thousands of service industry employees in Colorado, according to recent unemployment filings.
“Those businesses exist on the foundation of serving others and when you remove that rug out from underneath them, what do they have left?” Mckenzie said. “They can’t do what they’re called to help and they want to serve. That’s the backbone of this community.”
McKenzie was on last Friday’s meeting and owns the creative services firm REN Creativ in Colorado Springs.
She says in the wake of so many of her clients having to lay off hundreds of employees this week, she and other business owners around the city created a website in order to help them.
“We want to support businesses, we want to support people, we want to support the community,” Mckenzie said.
Supportthesprings.com tells which businesses are open, where they are, how to buy their products, how to volunteer for them and how to donate to organizations that will help them. It also collects resources for businesses that help in applying for grants for loans as well as helps employees find unemployment benefits.
From how to get local retail orders delivered to your house or access to the schedules for online yoga classes, McKenzie and her counterparts are hoping for a multi-faceted place to help local businesses.
A team of Neon Pig Services, Courtney Caldwell Design Company, Studio Q Events, Springs Native, the GoodVoice Group, Leah Valentine, Creative Consortium, and Downtown Partnership, helped design the website, stickers and soon-to-come T-shirts.
“I really love that, regardless of the fact we’re all competitors, we are really great about collaborating and really good at setting our ego aside for the end goal of just making this place a really amazing community,” McKenzie said.
Donations are linked to the Pikes Peak Community foundation as well as state and national charities and volunteering could take many forms, according to McKenzie.
“If there is anything you get out of this crisis right now, that it’s that if you can give, you should and if you can’t give financially, that’s okay too,” She added. “Give your hearts, give your passion, give your time on the internet to do positive things to benefit the greater good of this entire community.”