Record editorial: As winter looms, support local businesses
Compared to the worst-case economic scenario that some feared as the coronavirus upended the community in the spring, it appeared to be a solid summer in Park City.
Thanks in no small part to our abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, the town was busy at many points during the summer despite the cancellations of the special events that typically provide an economic boost. Main Street, aided by the introduction of the pedestrian-only days, was often jammed (though there were not always as many masks as one would like to see). And while the last few months have been challenging for nearly every local business, most made it through the summer intact — something that in May appeared far from certain.
Unfortunately, the pandemic is still raging throughout the state and country. Rather than being in the clear, the business community is now entering the next chapter of the pandemic. There remains broad uncertainty for local businesses — and the employees who rely on them to pay their bills — about what the next several months will hold and how the pandemic will affect ski tourism.
Given the economic realities, Parkites, as they have throughout the pandemic, must find ways to support businesses in the community. Let the shoulder season be a chance to patronize a local boutique and, perhaps, get a head start on Christmas shopping. Many restaurants are still operating outdoor dining areas, so take the opportunity in the next few weeks to enjoy an outdoor meal before the weather turns cold. Even buying a gift card with the intent to redeem it at some point in the future can help keep a business afloat.
Our small businesses are a crucial element of what makes Park City special. Even before the pandemic hit, there was concern about their long-term prospects as lease prices continued to rise — particularly in areas like Main Street — and as chain businesses become a larger part of the landscape. The COVID-19 crisis has only made the situation more difficult for them.
Hopefully our local establishments will make it through to the other side of the pandemic. Despite a better-than-anticipated summer, though, that is still not guaranteed.
They’ll need our help to get there. Parkites, we’re certain, will step up to the challenge.
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Our view: As Park City and the rest of Utah continue to attract more and more visitors from around the world each winter, the effects on our community will continue to grow.