Romer: Looking ahead at economic recovery efforts | VailDaily.com
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Romer: Looking ahead at economic recovery efforts

Conventional thinking portends that successful businesses need to focus on the present and always look to the future; this reminds me of the overused cliché from hockey star Wayne Gretzky, who famously said, “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”

Easy enough to say in a pre-COVID 19 world; much harder in the real world, where no one could be expected to foresee the impacts of this pandemic and the resulting gut punch to our economy. Yet here we are — figuring out where the puck is going and trying to be there in order to rebuild our economy.  

Eagle County has formed a COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force to advise our business community not only on the resources available and how to access them but on our efforts related to our economic recovery efforts due to the impacts of the coronavirus.

Vail Valley Partnership and other support groups in Eagle County are committed to supporting our business community with the information and expert guidance you need to help to support your business recovery efforts. We are committed to looking ahead not only to help you with the tools to recover but to create a plan to rebuild our economy.

When the going gets tough, we don’t sit on the sidelines. We are working tirelessly, seeking out solutions for the challenges we’re all facing. We recognize that our businesses need to survive the short-term in order for our community to thrive in the long-term.

Unlike most disasters, the COVID-19 outbreak has not caused physical damage to infrastructure or property. But damage to the socio-economic system here and worldwide may end up being far more significant than any previous disasters. 

While there may be short-term parallels to 2008 regarding uncertainty, this time the effects are deeper to all levels of business and society because the economy is at a virtual halt. A global economic downturn complicates matters and increases competition for dollars and slow economic activity that has left many without work.

Other communities that have worked through the disaster recovery process following hurricanes, floods and fires, have seen those efforts typically unfold over years, not months. We may anticipate the same, or possibly longer despite the infrastructure remaining intact. 

While dirt will not have to be moved and structures repaired, more difficult tasks may predominate. 

The short-term recovery efforts are focused on citizen relief conducted over the course of a number of months, and in connecting businesses to CARES Act resources such as the Payroll Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs. We strive to have a strategic, coordinated reopening aligned with public health needs.

Intermediate-term recovery efforts include leading collaboration with elected leaders across Colorado to develop clear, consistent messages for travelers and residents sparking recovery for our tourism economy and ensuring our local communities are prepared to welcome our valued guests and second homeowners back to the valley. We continue to advocate for federal relief through CARES 2.0 and future federal programs to benefit our nonprofit, government and business community.

Long-term economic rebuilding could need to be measured over years. Economic resilience, diversification and equity will be important components built into a recovery plan. Support for our long-term economy requires addressing and maintaining focus on longtime community challenges such as workforce housing, health care, early childhood, transit and workforce development.   

Vail Valley Partnership, Eagle County and our partners throughout the region are deploying a full suite of strategies to protect businesses from collapse and support restoration of economic activity and employment as rapidly as public health allows.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at vailvalleypartnership.com.


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