There’s no doubt that 2020 was a year like no other. Despite massive uncertainty caused by the pandemic, our local businesses adapted as best they could, changing operation models, providing curbside services, shifting online where possible and constantly pivoting to match conditions on the ground.
They were supported by highly responsive local and state governments that strove to balance public safety with economic survival.
Based on inquiries received by ECoNA this year, many were looking beyond the current pandemic to a possible future in northern Arizona. We received more than 50 inquiries from companies looking to start or relocate a business here. Together, these companies have the potential of bringing more than 14,000 jobs to the area.
We also received requests from nearly 100 businesses looking for assistance during the pandemic.
During the height of the first wave of coronavirus infections and community lockdowns, ECONA produced about a dozen “COVID-19 Bulletins,” with the latest information on relief programs, executive orders and other news concerning the disease and its impact on our local economy.
We also did deeper dives on how the pandemic was affecting specific sectors, such as restaurants and our arts community.
Of course, coping with the impact of COVID-19 was a collaborative effort and there are several entities that should be recognized for their work during this time. I’m proud to say that many of them are partners with ECoNA and have representatives on our board:
- The City of Flagstaff, which early on promoted patronizing businesses safely with its “Carry Out and Settle In” initiative through Flag Local, and later encouraged wearing of face coverings with “Stay, Play, Distance and Mask Responsibly.”
- Coconino County, whose Health and Human Services division was the front line for COVID-19 information and guidelines on business re-openings as well as the “Face It – Masks Save Lives!” initiative.
- The Northern Arizona University Economic Policy Institute, whose business survey helped leaders gauge the needs of businesses during COVID-19.
- The Small Business Development Center, which kept everyone apprised of the roll out of federal programs such as the Payment Protection Program and Emergency Injury Disaster Loans.
Finally, thank you to our local businesses that pivoted, preserved jobs where possible, helped others and endured the most catastrophic healthcare crisis of our lifetime.