Romer: Good news, bad news, and looking forward
Good news: The election is (finally) behind us. Here’s hoping both sides tamp down the rhetoric and move forward. As we head into 2021, newly elected and reelected officials should choose to govern for the betterment of the country. In additional good news, Pfizer announced a vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19.
Bad news: Despite ongoing claims to the contrary, the election came and went, and yet COVID-19 isn’t behind us. Colorado recorded a record-breaking number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Sunday, with more than 1,000 people in hospitals statewide with the novel coronavirus. “This is going to get worse before it gets better,” Gov. Jared Polis said, stressing that the virus is more prevalent in Colorado than during spring peak.
Polis urges Coloradans to practice social distancing with the “finish line” in sight.
Moving forward: It’s time to put community first and “be the reason for the season.” Avoid social gatherings, wear a mask, and practice social distancing. We all know and recognize the importance of this and it’s time to put it into action.
Now that the election is over, voters want action — action to bring the pandemic under control, put people back to work, keep our economy open while keeping people safe, save small businesses, rebuild communities and lives, and chart a brighter, stronger future for our country.
The business community wants action too. As we approach ski season and as our COVID-19 numbers continue to creep up and move communities around Colorado to higher levels on the COVID-19 dashboard, we call on our leaders to act collaboratively and govern responsibly.
It looks likely that we will have a divided federal government, and a commitment to collaborative governing will be absolutely essential to our nation’s recovery from the pandemic and the recession. Ongoing division and gridlock will deepen the harm already endured by so many and will result in the economy, businesses, and workers suffering the effects long after these crises recede. We call on our elected leaders to work productively and cooperatively on issues that actually can — and must — get done to support short-term and long-term growth.
The first order of business must be pandemic relief. We cannot let our small businesses, displaced workers, communities, and disproportionately impacted industries hang in the balance any longer.
Congress and the executive branch must immediately return to the negotiating table and work through their differences. This effort should start in the lame-duck session. The inclination might be to wait until next year to try for a bigger package, but how many businesses will suffer or fail in the meantime? We encourage Colorado’s leaders to pass an aid package as quickly as possible, while continuing to provide support to the businesses and workers who will struggle through the difficult months ahead.
Whether and how our leaders choose to govern in the critical months and years to come remains to be seen. But this much is very clear: we are ready to advocate our state and federal officials to ensure that Eagle County businesses are represented, and our voices are heard. We will vigorously work to advance shared priorities including COVID-19 relief.
Our mission is to lead collaboration to serve our community, and it is our duty to help our commuity during this time of remarkable uncertainty, challenge, and opportunity.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at www.vailvalleypartnership.com.
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