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It wasn't too long ago, children where going to school, restaurants and bars were serving up some of the finest dishes, local bands thrilling crowds, retail shops were showing off their goods and the cheers from stadiums hosting sporting events echoed through the air.

That was just a few weeks ago. Then COVID-19 hit. Bringing life to a stop, changing they way we go about our daily routines. Life as we knew it STOPPED!

The hardest hit industry is the restaurant and bar industry. One of the highest employment industries which worked on very small margins came to a grinding halt. No warning, it all just stopped. Bartenders, Waiters and Waitresses, Cooks, Managers and Owners, our Neighbors our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers suddenly found themselves empty handed and scared. While John and I are in the industry we are talking about, ours is not alone.

John and I were sitting in one of our empty dinning rooms the other night. Dew Pub and Grill on North Grand. We were thinking about how just a few weeks ago that room was filled with people laughing, enjoying themselves and listening to one of the many local, and very talented bands that played at the Dew on Friday Nights. We haven't heard from that band in a while, but worry about them as we worry about the staff on our payroll. You see that night we realized just how many people are impacted by just one restaurant, or bar that closes down. Temporally or Permanently. That impact is tremendous. But, Many won't make it, very few will.

We reached out to some of our friends in the entertainment field. It's generally been a bummer one band leader told us. Most of the band members are full-time professional musicians who depend on income from gigging. That's booking a night to perform. But they told us that while their livelihoods have "come to a screaming halt," what hurts most for them is not being there for people during an extremely difficult time. "We don't play music for the money," he told us, "We do it because we love bringing people together and connecting with the audience, and we yearn to do that again sometime soon." John and I know that to be true. Our local artists know they won't become rich by what they do but they are enriched by the people they touch. We saw it with every band we booked at the Dew. These are remarkable people.

Again, while we worry for our future, the future of our immediate staff, we now see there is so much more to worry about. Every business touches so many lives directly and indirectly even if they are not often heard of. Their existence has a great impact on our community and the lives of those who live in our community.

Many of these businesses will be lost. We are hearing from several local owners who are now not looking forward to reopening. They can't. Their only option is to pack up what they have and close for good. This past week they have been in their businesses pulling equipment for good and letting their staff know they will not be coming back. You will soon be hearing about these folks. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and those who depended on them remaining open.

With that in mind, and our hope in writing this, is to ask you, our family, friends, neighbors, our community to support each other. Be kind to each other, Contribute the best you can to help get all of us through this crisis. And if you would offer up a Prayer that we will soon overcome and defeat this Virus that will help. Knowing no one is alone will save many people even if they lose their businesses, their livelyhood.

Until then we stand with you. We will fight the best we can and We look forward to the day our children can return to school, our restaurants and bars serve up their finest, our music from our local artists fill the air, cash registers at our retail stores ring often and the sounds of our stadiums once again are full of life.

Thank you. Stay Safe. Can't wait to be together again.

Mike and John






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