Several weeks ago, a typical day in Asheville had people moving all around the city. There were parents, teachers, administrators and kids were going to schools. Businesses were open. Customers were spending money. The stock market was up. People were getting together and socializing. Outdoor sports and activities were plentiful. Living in Asheville was great, and life and politics were the usual.
Then the virus known as coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, or any other official or unofficial name given to the virus and its symptoms, started spreading through the United States. Stories were told about people getting sick and others dying. The media started reporting more and more on the virus, and soon, that became the main focus of the media, governments and the topic of conversation between people. I have read and had conversations on many topics over this virus, from the true origins of the virus, when did it first appear, how is it spreading, what are the symptoms, how do you get testing, long term issues, miss reporting, to countless possible coincidences and conspiracies.
It did not take long for governments and businesses to start shutting things down. They started with foreign travel, and then closed schools, businesses, and gatherings of
50 25 15 10 or more people. Local restaurants have gone to carry out or delivery, if they have stayed open. Many stores have reduced their hours along with the number of people allowed in at any given time. All of this has wreaked havoc on a lot of individuals, businesses and economies.
Given all of that, it is no wonder the current economic situation is bleak. Fewer things to do plus fewer places to go equals fewer opportunities to spend money. And the outlook may be worse for our local economy, because Asheville gets a lot of money from tourism. That is one of the reasons we have such great selection of fine restaurants, beer, art, shops and services. Without that money coming in, it’s hard to know what will happen to all of those businesses. Worse, a lot of money sitting in Asheville is flowing out of Asheville through online shopping and entertainment.
Today, people are staying home, social distancing, and spending money at a slower rate. That slower rate is creating a stagnant local economy. It is like social distancing has created money distancing. Sometimes it takes longer than others, but we known what it takes to make a strong economy. And since economics is not a new field of study, we can learn from history and make our economy vibrant again.
One thing that makes a strong local economy is working together. We want to facilitate the sharing of thoughts and ideas to track what is working and not working. We are collating resources and helping businesses build community. Because when people start moving around again, the money will start moving, and the flow of money will come back. And when the flow of money comes back, the money can flow fast or slow and the money can flow in or out of Asheville. The local flow of money is key, and the longer money flows local, the more it benefits and stimulates our local economic outlook.
For now, if you want some more community, need a small business loan, or just want to share your struggles, get in touch.
If working together to facilitate a strong local economy is something you are interested in, send an email. connect19@Asheville.Works