Helping our communities recover from the coronavirus pandemic is a challenge. Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam joined Southwest Virginia business people and leaders to figure out the best next steps.
“We have to remember that 97% of our economy is from small businesses," stated Northam. "Let’s all work together to help them.”
Friday’s call was hosted by the United Way via Zoom.
Northam says he wants to focus on a vaccine, expanding broadband in rural areas and expanding rapid testing in our area. He believes attention to these areas will immediately boost the local economy.
“This virus is stubborn. It’s got a mind of its own. We all need to continue to follow the guidelines to really get the pandemic under control and behind us,” said Northam.
Local economies survive on the backs of local businesses.
Carrie Poff is the co-owner of Brown Hound Tree Service & Salvage. Her company is fairing well with more people focused on at-home projects. She was able to secure some federal aid, which is providing stability for her 16 employees.
Delicia Tucker, on the other hand, has experienced highs and lows during the pandemic.
Owner of Delicia’s Gourmet Ice, she says it took months to receive any assistance. “I’m gonna tell you, I applied for it in March and we did not get it until almost August,” admitted Tucker.
With events canceled and aid late to come in, she credits her community for sustaining the business.
“You can’t let it get you down. You have to put your game face on. You have so many people that are depending on you and so many people that you’re putting food on their tables. We just have to keep on keeping on," stated Poff.
The governor says they are still distributing aid money to help our state economy. He also added the state is investing millions of dollars in broadband expansion here in our region.