Our small city is great because it’s local. And it has a hometown feel. We support small business. (At least we did. Until we started running for the hills.)
But if our small businesses are driven to the ground by the lockdowns (they’re close!), who do you think is going to swoop in? If the local economy is destroyed, it’s likely not going to be people in Asheville.
It’s going to be people most of you abhor. It’s going to be impersonal developers who don’t care about Asheville’s local culture. It’s going to be corporations buying buildings for a song and dramatically transforming this city into something it isn’t and never wants to be.
I know this virus is very serious to a lot of you. We didn’t know much in the beginning. Now, however, we know a lot.
One thing we know? The curve is flat. In six months, I haven’t been able to locate one city or county in the U.S., big or small, that was overwhelmed with COVID patients beyond capacity. In a pandemic, that’s unexpected.
Right now, as you read this, the vast majority of hospitals in America haven’t seen one COVID patient in weeks, sometimes even months. Not one.
Even during “outbreaks” … the odds of dying from COVID have been less than getting struck by lightning. … One estimate out of a Stanford study claimed, for the average individual aged 50-64, your odds of dying from COVID-19 are 1 in 19.1 million. Getting struck by lightning? One in 1 million.
Through these lockdowns, we are allowing the destruction of our “we love local” economy.
The second wave is hypothetical. If lockdowns are needed again, they need to be hyperlocal, targeted, smart and thought-out. We can’t again selfishly demand those local businesses that want to stay open assuage our fears by going out of business.
I’ve been absolutely disgusted by the fact that Starbucks, Walmart, Krispy Kreme, Chik-fil-A and all of these deep pockets have had lines around the block all year, while we’ve demanded our backbone, the local entrepreneurs and businesses and their hardworking employees, struggle under most of the weight.
Reality check. Local businesses are dying. Asheville itself is taking a massive hit. Stop it with the false dilemmas.
It’s time to save our entrepreneurs and local business and open up. It’s time to wake up and save Asheville.
There are options. Prophylaxis? Sheltering of vulnerable? Let’s get smart about this.
People won’t say this because they’re afraid of being bullied. But it’s the truth. And more people agree with me than the finger-waggers think.
— Chris Campbell
Editor’s note: A New York Times Opinion piece published in May detailed problems in the Stanford study referenced above: “A Study Said Covid Wasn’t That Deadly. The Right Seized It.”