Building a stronger Midway
Over the past month you have probably noticed more businesses reopening, leading to more cars on the road and fewer people staying at home. In the Midway, particularly along University Ave., businesses are reopening due to fewer restrictions for COVID-19 and are returning after the civil unrest led to boarded up buildings. While we have been reopening in Minnesota, it is hard to ignore the headlines from other states where they opened earlier and are now closing again after a spike in new COVID-19 cases. It can be hard to predict our future – in a month or two are we going to be more open than now, or less?
We can all do our part in helping keep businesses open by wearing masks. A mask is uncomfortable, but not as bad as a ventilator. It is important to remember now that the reopening must be handled with care –continue practicing proper social distancing, wash your hands, be careful what you touch and wear a mask.
The Midway faces another challenge as it attempts to reopen: The businesses impacted by the damage caused during the civil unrest in late May. Even for those who didn’t sustain their own property damage, they are faced with concerned clients and customers wondering what’s open amidst boarded up windows.
For many of these businesses, they have gone through a lot of thought about their future. If they suffered damage, do they have insurance. If they have insurance, what does it cover? Do they want to reopen? As businesses discover what is and is not covered by insurance, they get a clearer picture of their needs.
The Midway Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance, have created a fund to support those impacted with property damage. These businesses, nonprofits and building owners are encouraged to apply for funds at https://www.saintpaulchamber.com/welovestpaul.html. Funds have begun to be awarded and will continue so for many more weeks.
Other businesses and individuals are stepping up to help by utilizing their skills. Some companies have offered support by working with insurance companies, while others have equipment they can use or a product that can help. For example, some companies can remove graffiti and helped beautify the Midway by cleaning buildings, signs and transit platforms.
We have our work cut out for us, but thankfully we also have a strong community and other friends willing to do their part. Together, we are working on safely reopening the Midway.