He says local businesses are taking a hit.
Frederick, Md (KM) The coronvirus pandemic has been a challenge for the City of Frederick. “You can look forward to things like floods and snowstorms and those kinds of things. They’ve happened in the past. You’re familiar with them. There’s a little bit a track record, a case history. There’s some lived by experience by staff who understands how to respond to all of those kind of things. This is a new experience for all of us,” says Mayor Michael O’Connor.
Governor Larry Hogan has ordered all non-essential businesses to close to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Mayor O’Connor says the city can enforce that order, but he’s hoping residents will cooperate. “We’re not on a daily basis out there trying to tell businesses ‘there’s an executive order. You’re not supposed to be open.’ We’re going to rely on people to is do the right thing,”: he says.
The Mayor says a number of local businesses have taken a hit as a result of the coronavirus, with fewer customers, and, in some instances, being ordered to close. One of them are restaurants, which cannot offer on-site dining, but can provide take out or delivery services. “Where we’ve been able to put some steps in place to assist, such as the carry out spaces and the parking meters in downtown Frederick to support downtown restaurants, we’re doing that,” he says.
But O’Connor says the city wants to do more. “The Department of Economic Development distributed a business survey late last week, and has gotten a really good response,” he says. “So we’re trying to gather that data to figure out where our businesses are really feeling the pinch and the challenge, and what resources can we bring to bear at the local level that could have some impact.”
But the Mayor says the governmental entities which could help the most are at the state and federal levels.
Recently, President Donald Trump has suggested the economy could be moving past the coronavirus crisis, and could “re-open” by mid-April. A lot of Democratic and Republicans governors have pushed back on that idea. Many have put in restrictions on their citizens, and closed businesses to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor O’Connor says everyone is optimistic this crisis will come to an end, and life can get back to normal. But when that happens is uncertain. However, before any restrictions are lifted, he says two things must happen. “Make sure that people can be sustained financially with the needs that they have in order to live their lives. But also how we make sure we keep people safe and we don’t create a community spread that can overwhelm our health care system,” he says.
By Kevin McManus