As they say in court room television shows, the word “normal” should be stricken from the record. While you’re at it, grab a Sharpie and draw a line through the word in whatever dictionary you have handy. It seems that just as we get to a point where the world begins to feel like we can put our lives on cruise control, a little voice goes off in our head saying, “recalculating”.
The Lake County Chamber of Commerce is concerned for all businesses in our community during this unprecedented time of sheltering in place. The Chamber staff has worked diligently through this crisis, answering questions from the community, and posting updates and news online to keep the community in tune with changes that seem to happen daily.
During the shelter in place directive, normal business has disappeared. Businesses have been shut down unless they are termed “essential”. Small business owners and employees cannot make a living to pay bills and provide for their families if they are closed. The federal government gave out a boatload of money to help people pay their bills and feed their families. This is not normal.
Restaurants were among the businesses that were told they could stay open. There was a big challenge to this directive; in that no one can sit down to eat. Take your food and please leave we are told. It’s not the restaurants fault, they were told that this would be, for now, normal. This should not be normal.
It is no secret that the restaurant industry has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. There have been failure rate estimates that up to 75% of restaurants will be forced to close their doors due to the restrictions being placed upon them. What once was true about running a restaurant will, more than likely, never be so again. Restaurants are not alone in this struggle, all businesses have been forced to adapt or close their doors.
Tapas and small plates have stepped aside to family style meals to accommodate the grab and go concept. The community has needed to adapt as well to embracing take out and delivery, as opposed to, fine dining and romantic dinners out. During all of this, our restaurants are continuing to support the community with meals to first responders, warm meals to warming centers and doing all they can to keep their doors open and provide a bite to eat to anyone who is hungry and less fortunate.
The Lake County Chamber’s Certified Tourism Ambassador program has declared the week of May 17th to 24th CTA Restaurant Week. CTAs will be out in force supporting, purchasing meals, and spreading the word to friends and family about the many outstanding dining establishments, bakeries, coffee houses, etc. in our county. For those that are able, we are urging the community to join the CTAs during this week by enjoying a takeout dinner, grabbing a dessert, ice cream sundae or even a growler of beer to make the best out of an unfortunate situation and support those that need us right now. Follow this link for a list of local places to eat, drink and grab some sweets. bit.ly/LakeEats
The road to recovery will be not be a quick trip and the Certified Tourism Ambassador program will continue to be here to support all business as the restrictions ease and our true normal begins to return.