Get out your party hats — it’s National Economic Development Week! The economy has been struggling for numerous obvious reasons, but there are bright spots we can celebrate. The Yankton City Commission voted last week to open all businesses without restrictions. This will help get the money flowing through the community and jump start our community figuring out what a “new normal” will look like.

I will provide some words of caution about reopening though. Please, please, please continue to practice the CDC guidelines which include handwashing, social distancing, wearing masks and staying home when you don’t feel well. The community must step up to the challenge of keeping each other safe so businesses can remain open and individuals can stay healthy and out of the hospital. I applaud the businesses that have chosen to remain closed at this time. We must continue to support them in unique ways until the conditions are right for them to reopen. We should support those businesses choosing to reopen and utilize appropriate safety measures. Restaurants and bars have an especially challenging time as they may need to adjust their seating configurations and the way they provide service. I don’t know about you, but I sure have appreciated the take-out and curbside pick-up options. The Yankton Chamber’s Grub Love listing of restaurants, phone numbers and menus has been a huge asset when surfing food options over the last six weeks.

A major component of economic development in Yankton is our manufacturing community. Boy, have they stepped up! Several of the facilities have multi-step processes that employees need to go through each day when they come into work to keep their coworkers safe. Some of those safety measures may include taking of temperatures, written disclosure of personal and family health/travel, sanitization of hands, sanitization of shoes, staggered shift times, staggered break and lunch times, and wearing of masks and other protective gear. As the numbers of positive cases will continue to grow in Yankton, it is almost expected that every facility and small business will have an encounter. Some cases may require business closure for a few days, and some may require more stringent measures. Please continue to be patient and supportive of everyone working diligently to keep employees working and the community safe.

While I don’t have enough space in this article to provide accolades to everyone doing such awesome work in the community, I do want to name a few:

• Health care — You have been preparing and working tirelessly for what is yet to come and we provide heartfelt gratitude.

• Department of Labor — you have been providing services above and beyond what any of you could have ever expected. Secretary Hultman’s leadership at the state level and Lacey Johnson at the local level have been instrumental in individuals accessing programs offered for unemployment assistance.

• Local banks — You also deserve a shout out for your dedication to our community. To apply for the Small Business Administration Payroll Protection Program funding, businesses and non-profits needed to utilize their community banks. Having a strong relationship with your local lender was instrumental, and the banks went through an enormous amount of red tape and last-minute changes in rules and guidance when helping their customers apply to receive financial assistance. This funding has been instrumental for business to bridge the gap until they could reopen.

Thanks to these groups and so many more that I didn’t personally call out by name.

Surveys

YAPG, the Yankton Chamber and CVB are sponsoring a couple of online surveys we would like you to participate in right now.

The Community Survey is designed for individuals to fill out. It will assess how you are feeling, what the community has been doing good and areas where we could improve. We encourage all members of the household to fill out the survey since their responses may differ. The Community Survey will close on Friday, May 8.

The Business Survey is designed to gauge how businesses are navigating these challenging times and how they are projecting recovery plans. We encourage business of all sizes to fill out the survey. We know how important the large businesses are to our economy, but the smaller businesses have been feeling the impact and we need to hear from them so we can collaborate to find solutions. The Business Survey will close Wednesday, May 13.

Both surveys can be found on the websites of the Yankton Chamber, YAPG and Greater Yankton Living. While it isn’t a survey, I would also encourage you to fill out your census if you haven’t already done so at 2020census.gov. Funding for Yankton is reliant on our census results so please take a few minutes to fill out the census and other local surveys.

Business Support

The resource page at yanktonsd.com is continuing to be updated as a centralized community page for business information. YAPG, the Chamber and CVB are all working closely together to update resource links and provide new information from the CDC and State entities as they are released. If there is something that you are looking for and can’t find or heard about a program in another community and wish we had it here, please reach out to us to see what we can do. We have been speaking daily with business leaders in Yankton and know we still have a long road to get through the surge and work toward recovery. We will continue to be your reliable partner through the good and challenging times.

Please contact our staff via email or their cell numbers as we are still working remotely. We appreciate hearing your updates. Thank you for following the CDC guidelines and keeping our community safe.

 

Contact Nancy Wenande at nancy@yanktonsd.com or 605-660-0438.

(2) comments

E pluribus

You can wear your Party hat if you’d like, Ms. Wenande, but until we get enough TESTING, you’re just getting gussied up to whistle past a graveyard filling up with dead Americans.

South Dakotans think the CDC fixed the problem with Smithfield in Sioux Falls. But they bypassed local authorities to provide laughably weak “suggestions,” telling Smithfield, that their "recommendations are discretionary and are not required or mandated by the CDC.”

Do you really think that’s going to keep the virus confined to Sioux Falls?

It’ll be interesting to revisit your cheery pep talk after the total death count is clear. Keep your party hat handy. Maybe it'll help you spin the body count.

OffTheFence

Others have stated the deadly numbers, Ms. Wenande. But they’ll bear repeating until we Americans get our act together.

In late January, the South Koreans reported their first Coronavirus case on the same day as the US did. South Korea responded immediately with massive testing and contact tracing. Now they’re safely reopening their economy. But in America we heard little but reassuring talk like the cheerful pablum you’re feeding us.

As of yesterday the South Korea government had kept their total deaths down to 255. That's compared to 72,285 in the USA - the highest body count by far of any nation on the planet.

We’re well on our way to more deaths from incompetence than from the violence of all the wars we’ve fought since WWII. We’re so far behind the curve.

I see what’s coming, Ms. Wenande. I’ll leave my party hat at home and wear my mask instead.

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