Group Looks to Post-Pandemic Future

04/28/2020
NEWS BRIEFS
Southwest Colorado confirmed COVID-19 cases by county: La Plata (200 resident, 18 non-resident), Archuleta (36 resident, 31 non-resident), Montezuma (109), Dolores (1), San Juan (2). Deaths due to Covid: Montezuma (2), Deaths among cases: LaPlata (2), Montezuma (1), sjbpublichealth.org, montezumacounty.org
Colorado COVID-19 totals: 47,968 cases, 6,487 hospitalized, 1,844 deaths among cases, 1,710 deaths due to COVID-19, 548,808 tested, 483 outbreaks, colorado.gov

As a business task force looks to help Montezuma County businesses reopen when Colorado eases stay-at-home restrictions, it’s also looking to plan far into the future.

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MONTEZUMA COUNTY-AREA LEADERS ARE USING DATA TO HELP BUSINESSES COPE RIGHT NOW WITH THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK WHILE PLANNING FOR A POST-PANDEMIC ECONOMY. THANKS FOR WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIG-O TIRES IN CORTEZ AND FAST SIGNS IN DURANGO. I’M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. A NEW TASK FORCE IS HOPES TO HELP MONTEZUMA-AREA BUSINESSES IN THE THROES OF THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.  THE DOLORES, CORTEZ, AND MANCOS VALLEY CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE JOINED FORCES ALONG WITH BUSINESS REPRESENTATIVES, LOCAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, THE REGION 9 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT, THE MESA VERDE COUNTRY TOURISM OFFICE, AND GRANT AND FUNDRAISING PROFESSIONALS, HAVE CREATED THE “MONTEZUMA BUSINESS TASKFORCE." DURING THE PAST FOUR WEEKS, THE TASK FORCE SURVEYED BUSINESSES AND CONSUMERS TO ASSESS NEEDS, AND SHARED THE RESULTS WITH LAWMAKERS, COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, AND OTHER LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND AGENCIES. THE TASK FORCE MORE RECENTLY CREATED A “BACK TO BUSINESS” TOOLKIT, AND WILL HOST A LIVE QUESTION-AND-ANSWER SESSION TO GUIDE BUSINESSES THROUGH THE PHASED RE-OPENING THAT IS PART OF GOVERNOR JARED POLIS’S STATE-WIDE “SAFER-AT-HOME” PROGRAM. THE TOOLKITS INCLUDE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE MONTEZUMA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT AS WELL AS PRACTICAL MARKETING AND SOCIAL-MEDIA STRATEGIES. THE TASK FORCE DISTRIBUTED THE TOOLKITS TO 700 MEMBERS OF THE TRI-CITY CHAMBER NEWSLETTER AND ARE AVAILABLE ON THE TASKFORCE’S FACEBOOK PAGE, THE THREE CHAMBERS’ FACEBOOK PAGES, AND THE MONTEZUMA COUNTY WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGE. AFTER IT HELPS BUSINESSES SLOWLY GET BACK TO NORMAL, THE ACTION-ORIENTED GROUP DOESN'T PLAN TO SLOW DOWN WITH SEVERAL MORE ITEMS ON ITS “TO DO” LIST.
SO WE HAVE REALIZED THAT A LOT OF OUR BUSINESSES DURING THIS HAVE BECOME REALLY INNOVATIVE. THEY BECOME REALLY CREATIVE, AND THERE'VE BEEN A LOT OF THINGS THEY'VE BEEN ADOPTING THAT ARE NEW WAYS OF DOING BUSINESS. SO WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO THINGS THAT WAY. IT JUST EXPANDS THEIR BASE AND THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO DO BUSINESS WITH THEIR CUSTOMERS. WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT TRYING TO GET MOST OF OUR BUSINESSES WHO DON'T HAVE AN ONLINE PRESENCE IN ANY WAY. ONLINE. THE CORTEZ CHAMBER WILL BE OFFERING A FREE ONLINE RANK-YOUR-ONLINE-PRESENCE-KIND OF A CHECKLIST, AND WE'LL BE GOING OVER THAT WITH PEOPLE. ALTHOUGH THE GROUP INITIALLY FORMED TO TRIAGE A DEVASTATED LOCAL ECONOMY, IT'S NOW PURSUING A LONG-TERM MISSION.
YOU KNOW, IT HAS ALSO BLOSSOMED INTO A SECONDARY COMMITTEE, WHICH IS OUR FUTURE-THINKING COMMITTEE. AND THAT COMMITTEE IS, IS SET TO HELP US WITH IDEAS ON HOW WE CAN BRING FUTURE INDUSTRY INTO THIS AREA. HOW WE CAN HELP OUR INFRASTRUCTURE AND TO BE ABLE TO ATTRACT MORE BUSINESSES HERE. HOW TO HELP WITH LEGISLATION AND BEING ABLE TO TALK TO OUR LAWMAKERS AND HELPING THEM UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON IN OUR COUNTY, AND HAVING A TWO-WAY CONVERSATION THERE. WHILE THE GROUP IS DYNAMIC AND CONTINUES TO EVOLVE, IT'S DETERMINED TO GUIDE MONTEZUMA COUNTY INTO A POST-PANDEMIC FUTURE BY DIVERSIFYING THE AREA’S ECONOMY AND PUBLIC WORKS. SOME SMALLER COMMITTEES THAT LOOK AT DETAILED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES PERHAPS ARE LOOKING AT EXPANDING OUR BROADBAND AND WE KNOW THAT THERE WILL MOST LIKELY BE SOME WORKS PROGRAMS COMING OUT OF THIS THAT INVOLVE EXPANSION OF BROADBAND IN RURAL COMMUNITIES. AND WE HAVE BEEN TRYING REAL HARD OVER THE LAST MANY YEARS FOR THAT TO HAPPEN. SO THIS MAY BE THE TIME THAT WE TAKE THAT OPPORTUNITY TO DO IT. DOESN'T MEAN WE'RE GOING TO DO IT, THE TASKFORCE, BUT WE'RE THERE TO HELP FACILITATE THE RIGHT PEOPLE BEING IN THE RIGHT ROOM WITH ALL THE CONVERSATIONS, YOU KNOW, MAYBE WE LOOK AT HOW WE MIGHT GET A BETTER FORM OF TRANSPORTATION IN THIS AREA. MONTEZUMA COUNTY IN PARTICULAR, COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION, SO THAT WE CAN ATTRACT MANUFACTURING, THINGS LIKE THAT. FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO TAKE A SURVEY: CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND JOIN THE MONTEZUMA BUSINESS COALITION FACEBOOK GROUP AT FACEBOOK.COM/GROUPS/MONTEZUMABUSINESSCOALITION. THANKS FOR WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE.

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