LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A call to action from a Lubbock businesswoman is gathering support and focusing the debate about when, and how, restrictions on local businesses should be lifted.
The effort, titled ‘Let Lubbock Open,’ was created by Walk-Ons owner Chanda Allen. Since its initial appearance on Facebook on Thursday, the post has since gone viral locally, with more than 890 shares and 685 comments as of Friday night.
Allen says while the City of Lubbock continues its battle against the spread of COVID-19, her focus is fairly simple, directed toward one thing, the local economy.
“Our small, non-essential businesses are shutting down and we’re just asking the mayor and the city council to please offer us some guidelines and we will happily comply, that way we can open our small businesses back up,” Allen said. “We are willing to have our employees wear masks, gloves, social distancing, a number of patrons per square foot, whatever it takes to be able to safely and responsibly open our businesses back up.”
She says she feels like Hub City proprietors are ready for this next step.
“We are just politely asking, no one’s rioting, none of our business owners are up in arms, but it’s been a couple of weeks now and we’ve abided by what has been asked of us and now we know enough about this virus and enough about the way that West Texas is taking it on that we’re not in New York, we’re not in Chicago and we can be smart, savvy and responsible business owners and still be allowed to open our doors,” Allen said.
Which is what Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope says he wants to see, too.
“I’m a small business person," Pope said. "Nobody wants our small businesses to be open and thriving more than I do.”
He says that’s exactly why certain steps are already in motion.
“We’re going to do all we can to get our small businesses open again. One is a formal effort, we’ll start talking next week about a recovery task force, or something along those lines.”
Pope says while he understands Allen’s plea, along with so many other business owners, he says he’s looking at multiple angles in order to make the best decision possible.
“I think that when we start to look at re-opening something, we have to re-look at the whole picture. I have a perspective on this because of what I hear from our public health folks, what I hear from the hospitals, what I hear from our emergency management people, what I hear from our business owners.”
Pope says the goal will be to re-open businesses in a stair-stepped manner, in an effort to avoid a worst-case scenario, “The last thing we want to do is re-start and then have to stop again, close again.”
So, with that in mind, Pope says he has one request for all Lubbock citizens: “If we execute our plan now, on this social distancing, this stay home piece, this gives us a better chance. Stay the course, ok. Let’s stay the course, let’s find a way to do things a little different for a bit longer.”
Mayor Pope said he is looking forward to the guidelines from Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office, sometime next week, which are set to provide guidelines for the re-opening of non-essential businesses.