Let’s all congratulate the Class of 2020! 

Yes, I’m aware ceremonies have been postponed. It’s definitely not how they expected their final year to turn out. I want to make sure all the students graduating this year know we’re proud of them.

How about you? What are you feeling? In dozens of daily conversations, almost all the emotions have been heard. One that’s been notably absent is despair. Hope was still alive even when worry and frustration were present. However, patience has started waning.

As you know, Gov. Ducey extended the stay-at-home order until May 15 and issued the “Guidance for Retail” and “Return Stronger.” Both documents are available on the chamber’s website. There were pockets of disappointment throughout the community after Ducey’s announcement. His “extension with exception” announcement confused too many people.

A week before the governor’s decision, the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce conducted a one-question survey of its members: “What Economic Steps Should be Taken Next?”

About half the respondents would allow businesses to open at their own discretion. More testing or wait for guidance from state/federal had an equal response rate. A small percentage represented the “open everything now” group. 

Summary: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. As many have pointed out, there is a segment of the population that will maintain virus protocols by choice or out of necessity. “Consumer confidence” is the catch phrase you’ll hear most often. Plus, business owners are smart. They’ll do whatever is necessary to keep employees and customers from getting sick. That could mean fewer employees, limited customers in the building, shorter operational hours, or even appointment-only customers. It’s a balance between health safety and economic health. 

We would feel better with any decision had messaging been more consistent from state and federal representatives and a more accurate news media. Ducey’s “extension with exemptions” had everyone scratching their head as to what that meant. National news turns possible medical treatments into political party debates. The news reported spikes in new virus cases followed by separate reports of empty hospital beds and unused respirators. Improved communications really needs to be one of the key takeaways from all of this.

It is good news we are reemerging; getting back to an in-person, interactive society again. Yes, it’ll be slow and there might be bumps as things move forward. Very soon we will all give a shout of joy and congratulations that our community stayed strong.