By Mary Dougherty
It’s hard to believe we are half way through 2020 and the pandemic and the uncertainty created by it are still looming large in our collective psyche. I saw a cartoon on Facebook that said “I need my thundershirt” to watch the news and it was a sentiment I certainly understood.
So, what can we do? On a national level, I’m not really sure. On a local level, perhaps a lot. I don’t believe we need our elected leaders to tell us what to do to protect one another, be respectful of one another and exhibit common sense. Let’s be clear: I’m not a medical professional, my first major in college was bio-chemistry (back in the day), so that truly only qualifies me to have my informed personal opinion and nothing else.
What can we do on a local level, we can exhibit common sense. Stay a polite physical distance from one another, wash your hands like never before and yes, wear a mask (at GCBX we have been giving out masks and hand sanitizer free to our members since March). We should we do this because we can have an impact on our local area. We may not be able to affect what’s happening in Texas, Arizona or Brazil for that matter, but we can protect the area we call home. Providers in families need to work and we must all do our part to keep the economy open while not just flattening the curve but crushing the curve. A healthy community is good for business.
I for one can’t wait until the day when we say “remember the pandemic,” but it’s going to take all of us. People without jobs and without the prospect of a job due to this uncertainty are being disproportionally hit by this pandemic. Once we work together to get past this there are excellent careers in the construction industry and numerous opportunities to take a step toward that career. In partnership with CareerEdge there are programs, apprenticeships and internships that can jumpstart those opportunities.
At GCBX (Gulf Coast Builders Exchange), many of our members have been deemed essential businesses. We are grateful. We, along with other business groups, such as Visit Sarasota, are focusing on efforts to support the local hospitality and tourism industry that have been hit so hard. We are encouraging our members to pick up those take out meals, dine at a local restaurant (following all safety protocols), visit local attractions, and consider a “staycation” for a change of scenery.
We may not be able to affect things on a global or national level, but we can do our part to support our local economy, and those fortunate enough to continue to work should consider it our civic duty. Food pantries are overwhelmed, so please donate. If you’ve recovered from COVID-19, please consider donating convalescent plasma.
Yes, there’s an election coming up in the midst of all this. Our Supervisors of Elections are having difficulty finding poll workers through this pandemic, so if you don’t believe in vote by mail, volunteer to be a poll worker. If you’re okay with vote-by-mail, go to the Supervisor of Election website (Manatee – www.votemanatee.com, Sarasota – www.sarasotavotes.com, Charlotte – www.charlottevotes.com) and request a vote-by-mail ballot.
Let’s all do our part to get to the stage where we say “remember the pandemic.” When compared to what the Greatest Generation was asked to do to support the war effort in WWII, it really isn’t much. We may not affect areas outside our region, but we can show Manatee/Sarasota/Charlotte Strong!
Let’s do this for everyone’s good. For the good of working families, for the good of local businesses and yes, for the good of the construction industry. It all goes together.
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