How the coronavirus is impacting our local economy

Likening the coronavirus pandemic to being in a state of war, President Trump has been delivering daily updates to U.S. citizens, informing them not only of the number of confirmed cases and deaths, but also of just how the country is dealing with this critical emergency health crisis. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been doing the same, while Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has been holding weekly telephone Town Hall meetings to keep residents in the know.

The information is fast-flowing and continually changing — keeping those in the media on its toes trying to report on the most current and accurate data. We hope readers can appreciate the fluidity of the situation, and we encourage you to share news updates affecting your communities during this difficult time, at editor@millertonnews.com.

The staff of The Lakeville  Journal Co. is working remotely in order to ensure both The Millerton News and The Lakeville Journal can continue their long-standing commitment to reporting local news, as noted on last week’s opinion page. We are fortunate — not all workers have that luxury. And with Gov. Cuomo’s Friday, March 20, edict that 100% of New York’s non-essential businesses close and non-essential workers stay at home, the local workforce is facing extreme economic hardship. He also banned non-essential travel. The new rules went into effect Sunday night, at 8 p.m.

“We’re all in quarantine now,” said Cuomo pragmatically at his Friday press conference.

He’s right. And as NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said during an evening press conference that same day, “We’re in a brand new reality, there are so many things we’re trying to sort out.” In a rare show of agreement, he praised Cuomo’s latest restrictions. NYC is now the “epicenter” of the pandemic in the U.S., said de Blasio.

So, many are wondering what, exactly, is considered an essential business? The answer can be found by clicking on www.esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026, where one can view a full list of businesses deemed essential by New York state. Currently, grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets, pharmacies, gas stations, restaurants/bars (for take-out/delivery only) and hardware and building material stores are among the retail businesses considered essential.

Services considered essential by the state include trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal; mail and shipping services; laundromats; building cleaning and maintenance; child care services; auto repair; warehouse/distribution and fulfillment; funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries; storage for essential businesses; and animal shelters.

The news media, financial institutions, hospitals and other medical services/facilities as well as hotels are also considered essential, along with mass transit.

But that leaves a whole bevy of businesses now closed, shutting their doors to their employees, their customers and their suppliers. Because of the closures, those businesses aren’t producing any revenue, they’re not contributing to the tax base, they’re not providing paychecks,   they’re not ordering from suppliers and, by in large, they’re not buying advertising. The ripple effect is huge. Let’s face it, the COVID-19 health crisis is knocking a hard blow to our economy — and local businesses are feeling the brunt of the impact.

But while some have complained the government is unnecessarily shutting down the economy, President Trump explained his orders, and those of states like New York, in his Friday press conference.

“If we can save thousands of lives, even millions of lives, potentially… I think we’re doing a very effective job. We will know better in 14 to 15 days. We can bring our finances back very quickly; we can’t bring the people back.”

He’s right. Yes, it’s going to be rough on our business owners and workers, and in turn, on our communities. But the human toll of disobeying the new regulations would be far worse.

The goal here is to stop the spread of the coronavirus. That means social distancing — if possible, staying home — to keep from interacting with those who may be ill or from infecting those who may be well. We all have to be responsible and prepare for things to get worse before they get better.

In the meantime, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans to small businesses suffering substantial loss due to the pandemic. For more, read “Cuomo mandates 100% of non-essential businesses close during crisis” on the front page.

Stay well.

Latest News

Thru hikers linked by life on the Appalachian Trail

Riley Moriarty

Provided

Of thousands who attempt to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, only one in four make it.

The AT, completed in 1937, runs over roughly 2,200 miles, from Springer Mountain in Georgia’s Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest to Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park of Maine.

Keep ReadingShow less
17th Annual New England Clambake: a community feast for a cause

The clambake returns to SWSA's Satre Hill July 27 to support the Jane Lloyd Fund.

Provided

The 17th Annual Traditional New England Clambake, sponsored by NBT Bank and benefiting the Jane Lloyd Fund, is set for Saturday, July 27, transforming the Salisbury Winter Sports Association’s Satre Hill into a cornucopia of mouthwatering food, live music, and community spirit.

The Jane Lloyd Fund, now in its 19th year, is administered by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and helps families battling cancer with day-to-day living expenses. Tanya Tedder, who serves on the fund’s small advisory board, was instrumental in the forming of the organization. After Jane Lloyd passed away in 2005 after an eight-year battle with cancer, the family asked Tedder to help start the foundation. “I was struggling myself with some loss,” said Tedder. “You know, you get in that spot, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. Someone once said to me, ‘Grief is just love with no place to go.’ I was absolutely thrilled to be asked and thrilled to jump into a mission that was so meaningful for the community.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Getting to know our green neighbors

Cover of "The Light Eaters" by Zoe Schlanger.

Provided

This installment of The Ungardener was to be about soil health but I will save that topic as I am compelled to tell you about a book I finished exactly three minutes before writing this sentence. It is called “The Light Eaters.” Written by Zoe Schlanger, a journalist by background, the book relays both the cutting edge of plant science and the outdated norms that surround this science. I promise that, in reading this book, you will be fascinated by what scientists are discovering about plants which extends far beyond the notions of plant communication and commerce — the wood wide web — that soaked into our consciousnesses several years ago. You might even find, as I did, some evidence for the empathetic, heart-expanding sentiment one feels in nature.

A staff writer for the Atlantic who left her full-time job to write this book, Schlanger has travelled around the world to bring us stories from scientists and researchers that evidence sophisticated plant behavior. These findings suggest a kind of plant ‘agency’ and perhaps even a consciousness; controversial notions that some in the scientific community have not been willing or able to distill into the prevailing human-centric conceptions of intelligence.

Keep ReadingShow less