April 7, 2021 2:10pm
From the Desk of the CEO 4.7.21
Spring is upon us and with that comes a wave of new hope that we are approaching the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has altered every part of our daily lives over the last year; from our interactions with our family to the way we work. Realistically it will take years to get back to life as knew it before the pandemic, but there is a real reason to be optimistic right now. In Greater Louisville we are seeing rising vaccination rates and falling positivity rates. This is welcome news for many of our businesses who are continuing to reel from the economic restrictions that have come along with controlling the spread of this virus.
Just yesterday, all Louisvillians over 16 became eligible for the vaccine and we are continuing to see positive findings on the long-term efficacy of all three vaccine options. We are also seeing restrictions loosen – last week the CDC issued guidance on travel for fully vaccinated individuals that eliminates the requirement of COVID testing and quarantine post-travel.
Certain areas of our region have been impacted more than others. Downtown Louisville has been particularly hard hit due to a lack of business activity, live events, and tourism. We also know Downtown is facing a number of additional issues related to increased crime, graffiti, and homelessness.
While the issues facing Downtown are complex and multifaceted, I am confident a rise in foot traffic, events and energy will reinvigorate our urban core. However, this won’t happen overnight. It will take small, intentional actions from everyone to bring back our vibrant Downtown. There are things you can do right now and in the coming weeks to be part of the solution.
For business leaders: Make a plan to return to your office in some form or fashion as your workforce becomes fully vaccinated. We recognize hybrid working is here to stay and vaccine timelines vary. However, our Downtown workforce injects an irreplaceable energy and economic impact to the restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, and attractions that call Downtown home. Your workforce is a critical piece to this puzzle.
If your employees are vaccine hesitant, consider offering incentives, like an extra day of PTO, to reward vaccinations and ensure your entire staff feels protected.
For all Louisvillians: First and foremost, plan to get vaccinated. The vaccine is the only way we can ensure herd immunity and protect our community as our economy fully opens. There are many options available across the region and more appointments than ever. You can view a list of all vaccination locations and appointments compiled by GLI here. Once you are fully vaccinated and comfortable, make a plan to visit your favorite local spot.
Last week, GLI launched a new campaign to support that goal in partnership with Louisville Tourism, Louisville Downtown Partnership, and Louisville Forward. ‘Lou Needs You’ is a digital and social media marketing campaign designed with the generous support of famed local advertising agency, Scoppechio. The goal is to tell the personal story of Louisville businesses and entrepreneurs in the city’s urban areas like Downtown, Russell, Nulu, Butchertown and more. You can visit LouNeedsYou.com to learn more about the campaign and access resources to highlight your business.
As we adapt to our new normal, it is important to keep in mind that we are still in a pandemic. Social distancing and mask wearing will be a part of our new normal for the foreseeable future. However, I am hopeful that the months ahead will see the return of in-person events, working and networking.
As we continue to navigate the reopening and recovery of our economy, know that GLI is continuing to advocate on your behalf to ensure our economy rebounds stronger than it was before.