Making Room In Our Boats
A rising tide lifts all boats. On the Eastern Shore, this is an image that rings true. But in the most challenging times, the question we must ask ourselves is – what about those without a boat?
As communities, here on the Shore and around the globe, share in the devastating impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to connect. Everyone’s life has been touched to varying degrees, and there are many suffering great loss. No one is immune to the effects of the Coronavirus, even if your family and friends remain healthy.
At the Community Foundation, we have seen our region respond to this crisis in coordinated solidarity. When CFES made the first financial investment to our Emergency Response Fund, local people, businesses and foundations immediately rose to the occasion, ready to help. It was philanthropy in its truest sense – people reaching out to help one another.
We are all learning as we go and doing our best to reach out to our neighbors in need. A common theme has emerged in recent months; we want to share good news, we want to provide for one another, and we want to feel connected, especially now when we can’t be physically together.
I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone that has made a contribution. Whether your gift was to CFES, your favorite nonprofit, your church, a local pantry, your neighbor, or a family member in need – your gift matters. Thank you to those on the frontlines, healthcare, service workers, first responders and others providing critical services to keep our community safe. Thank you to our nonprofit, education and community partners, who are working hard to deliver services in this new reality and collaborating like never before.
If you can, continue to rally behind those who need your gifts of time, talent, and treasure. Now is the time to help lift them up – to make room in your boat. While these are challenging times, we know there will be brighter days ahead if we continue to lean on each other and learn from each other. The rising tide will come.
(The writer is the president of the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.)
Del. Restaurants Excited To Welcome Back Guests
Restaurants across Delaware are preparing to re-open and welcome back our guests for both dine in and outdoor seating as of Monday, June 1 after more than two months of Delaware’s mandated closures. Working in partnership with the Delaware Restaurant Association and following the direction of the Delaware Division of Public Health, phase one guidelines for restaurants’ reopening are now in place. Restaurants have reopening plans prepared that will help provide the confidence and level of service that customers expect by keeping their safety top of mind and executing the highest degree of hospitality that Delawareans have always experienced. With your support, we will continue to serve you as the cornerstones of our communities as Delaware’s most beloved small business employer.
The hospitality industry’s core values are deeply rooted in making people happy. I believe I speak for all hospitality professions when I say that we are enthusiastic about welcoming and serving our guests once more! As operators in almost 2,000 restaurants, we are also in the process of bringing back 1 in 10 Delawareans who choose to work in our establishments as career operators, servers, chefs, hosts, bussers, sommeliers and managers as well as for those students and individuals who work part- time and who depend on these opportunities to grow and develop the upward mobility that a first-time job helps to create. The support you give to restaurants as we begin opening up will have a ripple effect on the overall economy by helping those individuals that have been most vulnerable and need to get back to work. These incredible people are looking forward to welcoming you into their establishments– to create the magic that we have all come to depend upon coming from your local, neighborhood restaurant.
It is the very nature of people in the hospitality industry to embrace challenge and our businesses and industry professionals have been dealt a tremendous blow. As we prepare for June 1, restaurants will work hard to meet this new challenge and it will take a community of support to ensure that many of our favorite local eateries survive. We are committed to adhering to guidelines for the safety of our guests and workers, and will make all necessary changes at each phase of the reopening with robust enthusiasm.
We ask that our guests have patience as we work through the coming weeks and the many temporary changes ahead. The restaurant community will soon be open to serve you, and never has it been more apparent to those of us in the industry that it is our collective need to do just that. We are here to welcome you back in a safe and respectful way, and look forward to seeing you soon.
(The writer is the president of SoDel Concepts and board chairman of the Delaware Restaurant Association.)
Rural Location Should Not Hurt Businesses
While states are beginning to reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are still hurting.
They will be for some time.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in March was a good first step in helping businesses overcome economic challenges.
Under the plan, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is paying all loans owed to agency lenders, including principal, interest and fee payments, for six months. This allows business owners to use money set aside for their loan payment to meet payroll, cover utilities, and manage unexpected costs.
Unfortunately, this relief effort left out small, rural businesses with loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP).
The Center for Rural Affairs has joined 64 other small business lenders in asking federal lawmakers to offer rural entrepreneurs an equal opportunity by including these same provisions in future legislation for business owners with RMAP loans.
Businesses with loans through RMAP have 10 or fewer employees, are located in a rural area, and have been unable to secure funding through the SBA due to an absence of local lenders or a lack of credit. Many are in the service industry — retail, restaurants, and salons — and are especially vulnerable today.
This policy has the potential to keep more than 1,000 entrepreneurs in business—real men and women on the streets of rural America who deserve to be treated equally. We urge Congress to move swiftly and address this oversight in any forthcoming legislation.
(The writer is the policy director for the Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.)
Better Rendering Appreciated
I would just like to call out a very small, but positive change from the Ocean City government. In the April 29 article in this newspaper, a rendering of the visual impact of the offshore wind turbines was published with the caveat “courtesy of Town of Ocean City.”
While I seriously question the veracity of this rendering due to its source, for the first time ever, the Town of Ocean City has correctly shown approximately 32 turbines rather than 70 or more. They still have not corrected similar images in the town’s web pages which still show about 70.
A quick visual comparison leads me to believe that all they did was take their 70-turbine picture and crop out a little over half of them. There are additional technical reasons to believe these are the same doctored photos, as the relative ratio of the center to tip and its height over the water are unchanged from older photos that do not represent the current developer plans.
In other words, they didn’t really make an effort to provide an accurate rendering, but the fact that they made a small attempt to step slightly closer to the truth is a big change for these people.