Letter from the Chamber President

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Mac Williams

Written by:
Mac Williams,
Alamance Chamber

Earlier this week, I had to get out on the interstates for a quick trip between Burlington and Mebane. I have taken this same drive other times during this “COVID-19” period. What stood out today, enough, to me, to be worthy of writing about, was the number of trucks on the road. The traffic level was noticeably increased over the other times….and, to me, welcome. The same with car traffic, heavier than in the other weeks….and, also welcome.

Maybe the increased traffic I saw was just unusual and unique to this particular day and time; but, for some reason, it just felt different – not a temporary “one-off” event but more like a movement, more substantial and sustainable.

Wishful thinking? Did I just see the traffic as increased because that is the way I hoped to see it? Perhaps. As someone working for a business association, that is what I want for my members – for them to be getting back to business in as strong an economy as we had ever had.

Coincidentally or not, this week also saw the “conversation” start to turn, in earnest, toward the “re-opening” of the economy. This too seems to be happening at all levels and is more substantive in nature. No analyzing of theoretical scenarios but actual proposals and protocols for moving on to the next phase – whatever that is.

Not unexpectedly, there is competition for the narrative around the wisdom of re-opening at all much less how it will happen and, to be sure, these issues will be hotly debated. Health vs. Economy is a heavyweight fight.

Still, our members are ready to get re-started. They have been doing their part, many at great sacrifice, to mitigate through this pandemic. Lisa Foster, our Office Administrator of 34 years, knows our members like family and took it upon herself to contact, individually, each of our 682 members. She reports that while their stories about how and to what extent COVID-19 has impacted them were all unique, the refrain “we’re ready to get back” was, if not universal, certainly the majority.

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Daniel Henninger observed “the basics of human nature” are beginning to stir. He continued saying, “Economic suicide is not normal behavior so expect (businesses) to start opening quietly”. He concludes, “It is humanity re-establishing social equilibrium.”

Our culture has given and continues to give what it can to address the common threat only to have appear another threat of equal or, to many, greater consequence. With an eye on continued health concerns and adopted new practices, our nature is pulling us, irreversibly, toward getting back to “normal”. I think that is what I saw at work in the increased traffic on the interstates.

One day closer.