'There's a safe way to do this'

Windom Area Chamber voices support for #EndThePause in the days before Walz announces the next steps for the state.

WINDOM ― In anticipation of Gov. Tim Walz's announcement today regarding the duration of the executive pause order currently in place, the Windom Area Chamber of Commerce has announced its support for #EndThePause, a request for the governor to allow small businesses to operate with safety measures in place.

"Everyone's been affected by COVID," said Tyann Marcy, director of the Windom Area Chamber. "Some (businesses) have been more affected financially than others."

For the last four weeks, restaurants, bars and gyms, in particular, have been feeling the financial pressure, as Walz required them to shut their doors to dine-in or in-person service.

Marcy was clear: COVID is real, and its effects are significant.

"We've been hit traumatically in our area with the number of positive cases," she said. Marcy herself has had COVID ― which she described as "not a fun experience" ― and has personally known folks who have died from the virus.


"But I feel that there are safe ways we could be giving businesses the opportunity to be open," she added.

Marcy explained that she isn't suggesting that all restrictions be lifted or that the government ignore the advice of health care professionals, but that it seems unfair that big box stores can remain open with full parking lots while small, local business owners lose their livelihoods.

Part of the problem, Marcy explained, is that while people are at home more and watching the news constantly, it has become easy to place blame on each other for the spread of COVID-19.

"For whatever reason," she said, "we're all assuming that everyone's not doing their part."

Marcy contends that most people are doing what they can to slow the spread ― businesses in particular. The small business owners she knows are invested in sanitizing, enforcing masks and insisting that employees stay home if they're sick.

"There's a safe way to do this. I am one who believes that people want to do the right," Marcy shared.

She believes that if restaurants, bars and gyms were allowed to open, the owners would follow cleanliness, social distancing and quarantine protocols diligently in the interest of public safety.

"We (as humans) are more alike than we've ever been," she said. "We're just choosing not to listen to each other. I think it's so important for us to be really listening to these business owners."


To encourage community listening and educate everyone about the hardships faced by local businesses, Marcy has started filming video interviews with business owners and posting them to the Chamber's Facebook page.

While Marcy and the Windom Area Chamber call on Walz to end the pause order, Marcy recognizes that there's a possibility the governor may extend the order even longer in his announcement today. If that's the case, she doesn't advocate disobeying the law and opening anyway, citing the numerous long-term consequences that would likely be difficult to recover from. However, Marcy will continue to magnify the voices of the local business owners who are telling her the pause order is hurting them.

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