Let’s be clear, dealing with a worldwide pandemic was not on my 2020 Bingo card. The economic devastation, the stress, the confusion, and dealing with the constant craziness has been exhausting. In fact, life during COVID has been so exhausting that I decided to spend some time focusing on the changes in Colorado that should be kept after COVID is finally gone.
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I will admit that I’m a glass half-full kind of person. However, COVID challenges even the most positive person’s outlook when it comes finding something good about the situation because there are so many aspects of it that are a hot covidy mess. However, I was surprised to find that I was able to find a number of good things about how living in Colorado and changes that we made that helped us weather the storm
The Initial Swift Response
When Governor Polis closed down the ski resorts, I knew that COVID was a big deal. Three cases internationally had been traced back to Colorado ski resorts and with the sheer numbers of international travelers to our state the potential for a New York level outbreak was huge. Let’s be clear, the 3 months of quarantine sucked and wearing masks suck. But, what doesn’t suck is consistently having such low positivity rates that Colorado is now one of about 9 states approved for travel to Costa Rica. It’s my view that other countries will begin reopening their borders to US travelers based on their state’s positivity rates. I appreciate the ongoing local response to COVID here in our state and feel like we’re in good hands.
Main Streets Shut Down
I’ve just returned from my 4th local staycation since COVID and one of the best, and I mean, the best changes as a result of this mess is how Main Streets have been closed down to traffic. Especially Mountain Main Streets, I’ve visited Breckenridge, Salida, and Frisco and it was like I was experiencing the towns in a completely new way-because I was. I no longer had to rush through traffic, work my way through crowds, or hear cars honking all the time. In fact, I spoke with several retailers in Breckenridge who said that they’d had their best summer ever. I’m not surprised. In fact, the experience reminded me a lot of what it’s like to be in Europe. We’re lucky in Colorado because we have a strong patio culture so I think it was easier to get people to embrace this straightforward change. Hopefully this will continue during moving forward from May-September.
Expanded Outdoor Seating
I love how businesses have rethought the spaces connected to their businesses. Let’s be clear, they had to in order to survive, but the expanded seating has been a wonderful way to experience many of our favorite restaurants. I’m still very reluctant to eat indoors, so having patios and additional outdoor seating makes it easier for me to say “yes” to going out to eat.
Alcohol to Go
I don’t drink enough to keep alcohol in my house. So, I enjoy having a nice cocktail when I go out. Now, I’m not going out. It’s so nice to grab a meal and a nicely made cocktail to pair with it!
Colorado’s Bipartisan Voting Setup
I’ve always appreciated our system of voting. Now, I appreciate it even more than before. The key to the system working and having faith in our state’s voting system is that it was a bipartisan effort and continues to be set up in that way. In fact, it’s clear that Colorado’s system of voting is the platinum standard in the US. I love it so much that I’m going to do a podcast episode about what it’s like to vote here from beginning to end because so many people have no idea how good it could be.
I’ve had a number of incredible conversations with my fellow Coloradans as a result of everything that’s going on. There is a real sense that we’re in this together, because we are. It’s been so amazing to meet more of my neighbors, talk to entrepreneurs, and hear about what is and what isn’t working during this time.
Right now a number of businesses have undergone extreme pivots in order to stay relevant and continue bringing in customers. Here are some examples of new innovative approaches to business that I’ve discovered during this time.
- Somebody People, a plant-based, restaurant in Platt Park has done the following:
- They have outdoor seating
- Weekly produce boxes that require a subscription
- You can take home cocktails
- I think you can also pick up fresh veggies as well
- Coffee shops offering coffee bean subscriptions
- Farmers Markets managing the flow of customers into the event. I’ve enjoyed this year’s farmer’s markets a lot more because I’m not being jostled by a billion people and dodging dogs.
Support and Publicity for POC Owned Businesses
The National Bureau of Economic Research reported that 40% of Black owned businesses shut down during COVID. Having increased support and visibility for Colorado local businesses is a key part of their ability to make it through this financial storm.
Support and Publicity for ALL Locally Owned Businesses
One of the mindsets that I love in Colorado is the continued support and understanding that small businesses are the key to a thriving local economy. In my numerous conversations with local entrepreneurs they’ve routinely pointed out that there is a healthy eco system in Colorado from the business development stage to the moment when it’s time to sell. Resources such as:
- The Small Business Administration (Colorado)
- Colorado Startups Podcast Connect
- Denver Startup Week
- Colorado Small Business Development Network
- Women Who Startup
What Isn’t Working
Let me know what other systems or changes that you think are working well during this time. Next week I will share some of the changes or systems that aren’t working during COVID.