I am not a big New Year’s resolution person. However, this year I resolve to live with kindness, grace and resiliency in everything that I do and I ask you to join me. We have all endured so very much during this COVID-19 pandemic year and no part of our community has been unscathed. Our business community has survived heavy burdens no one could have ever imagined. Business owners and leaders have used creativity, innovation, and sheer determination to adjust to the circumstances. They have done their best to keep their employees safely employed and provide safe environments for their customers while asked to be enforcers of state and government mandates. Have 100% complied or done it perfectly? Absolutely not. Can some do better? Absolutely yes.
Much work lies ahead before we will put this pandemic behind us. Keeping our schools open for our children to learn and businesses open to keep jobs in place must be our community’s priority. We must continue to be smart, safe, and prepared to adjust at all times. As the vaccine rolls out and herd immunity is building, we cannot let our guard down. Potential mutations of this virus are very possible. This has been a learn-as-we-go situation and we have had to adjust over the past nine months – I do not expect that to change. As we turn the corner and head towards recovery in 2021 we ask for your kindness and grace as our local businesses maneuver the “white water rapids” in this new year. There will be more boulders, swift currents and adjustments that need to be made to ensure we get through the rapids and to the calm waters on this wild ride.
As Kalispell’s official Convention and Visitors Bureau (Discover Kalispell) we recognize the unique and vital role tourism plays in our local economy. Most of our small businesses are supported by visitors and this key industry goes beyond the warm season months. Restaurants, hotels, retailers, guides and outfitters and events keep our economy running and are working hard to stay open and safe. Discover Kalispell and the Chamber are communicating with travelers considering a winter vacation through consistent messaging – talking with those visitors already here and those thinking about coming, making sure they know how to travel responsibly and where to find current information on state and county health guidelines.
Please support our local businesses. If you visit a business and notice that something could be done better or differently to increase your safety comfort level, please give the owner or manager the opportunity to learn from your experience first. Ask questions politely, share your concerns and use this as an educational moment. Before you react to pictures posted on social media, call the business and ask them about the circumstances – especially today where pictures don’t always tell the whole story. Help us as a business community to be here for you.
Together, with kindness, grace, and resiliency we will reach the calm waters and keep our beautiful Kalispell community thriving.
Lorraine Clarno, president /CEO
Kalispell Chamber of Commerce
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