Our View: What kind of community do you want?

The coronavirus pandemic is nowhere near subsiding. New infections and new death toll figures are announced daily by government officials and health experts.

The drumbeat of pessimistic news can be depressing, to say the least.

Yet, it is not too early for people to look ahead to the other side of this virus crisis – to when it’s all over – and ask a simple but profound question: What kind of community do you want to have, going forward?

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as flicking on a switch, and instantly life in Illinois and across the nation returns to normal.

Ours is an incredibly interdependent society both socially and economically.

Shutting down schools, closing restaurant dining rooms and bars, shutting down businesses deemed nonessential, imposing stay-at-home orders – those actions might be deemed absolutely necessary to inhibit the spread of a dangerous virus, but they have played havoc with the economy.

Local businesses – the lifeblood of our communities – have felt the impact. These businesses not only serve the needs of our communities, but they are what make a community special. They give character to our hometowns. They provide jobs, pay taxes and support local causes.

If, going forward, after the coronavirus pandemic, you want your community to retain the local businesses that make it special, there’s something you need to do right now to make that happen.

Support them. We know many people may have to be more frugal in the months ahead, but when you can spend money, do so at those local businesses that are still open. Make a concerted effort to keep dollars flowing into their cash registers.

While federal and state economic relief may come, all communities need locally based, locally focused efforts to help our local businesses stay afloat.

It’s important to remember that this freefall into recession conditions is caused by an external force, not some inherent weakness in our economy.

We need to stay above water for now, so that we are positioned to make a comeback on the other side.

And on that other side, don’t you want to have the same local businesses in place that served you so well before this public health crisis? We certainly do.

By making special efforts to patronize local businesses now, you’ll not only be getting good products and services, but you’ll be tossing a lifeline to help keep them afloat.

And after the COVID-19 outbreak ends, as it inevitably will, they will be there to serve you as normal times return.