Just a few weeks ago, Governor Abbott issued an executive order to begin reopening Texas. During Phase 1, restaurants, retailers, malls, theaters, museums and libraries could reopen at 25% capacity. Within a week, salons, barber shops and tanning salons were added to that list. Now we’ve entered Phase 2, which allows gyms, day care facilities, personal care services and bars to reopen with limitations, and of course all businesses are required to follow social distancing guidelines.
It’s hard to believe that it was nearly two months ago that our local restaurants and retailers were forced to close their doors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants were able to operate carry out, drive thru or delivery services to bring in some revenue, but the loss of dining room business had a tremendous impact on them. Local retailers were even more significantly impacted as a result of a total shut down.
I don’t think any of us imagined how substantial the effect would be on our local businesses or how long this would go on. We hear daily of small business in other communities that didn’t survive. But here in Terrell there is good news!
For one, many of our small businesses were able to take advantage of the funding options, especially after the federal government released more money for a second round of Payroll Protection Loans. Many applied for and received grants or loans from the Small Business Administration as well.
The Terrell community missed our local businesses and it shows! If you’ve visited a local store or restaurant in the last few weeks, you’ve seen how busy they are. All the drive thrus have long lines, the retailers are having to pay attention to occupancy limitations, and community members are out spending their money to support our local businesses.
Our business community is playing a huge role in the ongoing recovery as well. Terrell State Hospital gave the gift of Terrell Cash to around 180 nurses on International Nurses Day, resulting in over $2,000 in circulation to be spent locally at participating merchants. Our small businesses are promoting each other. Some are partnering up where it makes sense to increase their exposure and customer base, or to save on the cost of doing business.
In all of this, many businesses got out of their comfort zone to find new and safe ways to serve customers. Some of those changes have worked so well that some businesses have decided to keep them going – solutions such as curbside pickup, deliveries (even from non-restaurant businesses), menus accessed via QR code, and Facebook sales.
If you’re looking for ways to support and help our local businesses recover, we have a few ideas! First and most importantly, shop local. Support our businesses in Terrell as much and as often as you can so we can keep them in business.
Purchase Terrell Cash from our website at terrelltexas.com, which can be spent at 22 participating merchants in Terrell and right now you receive a free t-shirt for every $20 in Terrell Cash you purchase (while supplies last).
We also launched a Welcome Back Terrell BINGO game to encourage shopping local. You can find that pinned to the top of our Facebook page or in this issue of the Terrell Tribune. We will be announcing several other campaigns to support local businesses over the coming months. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for those announcements.
An important thing we all must do to ensure we continue our progress toward fully reopening in Terrell is to practice safe social distancing and prevention measures. If we all cooperate and comply with the rules of the businesses we visit, such as wearing facemasks if requested, the quicker we get to a point where it isn’t necessary and the quicker our restaurants and stores are back to operating at 100%. We all want that, and we can all do our part to get there.