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We must support local business during tough times

Some years ago, an Austin Peay State University survey found that the No. 1 entertainment activity among all people was going out to eat.
You may laugh, but it is true.
On any given evening before the coronavirus pandemic hit, most restaurants were filled, especially at lunch time and late evening.
As the downtown has grown, small restaurants have opened up, making for some evening entertainment on Elk Avenue.
However, things have changed in recent days. These restaurants with dining rooms have closed. Service is limited to drive-through, curb pickup, and delivery.
Local eateries are continuing to find ways to serve customers in this strange new situation, switching to delivery or takeout or both.
Some seem lost in a new world that requires shutting their dining rooms and taking orders by phone.
But it’s telling, and, given our current coronavirus “Safer At Home” directive, it is worrisome to business owners and disheartening to customers, who preferred eating out to staying home.
Many local entrepreneurs have staked their livelihoods on Elizabethton and Carter County families’ desire for interesting local cuisine, such as Dino’s lasagna and spaghetti; City Market’s hamburgers; Jiggy Ray’s pizza, and of course, barbecue from the Ridgewood and Big Dan’s in Elizabethton.  And those entrepreneurs are now staring down empty dining rooms for weeks to come.
Many of them are continuing to find ways to serve customers in this strange new situation, switching to delivery or takeout or both.
A few restaurants, such as Ridgewood Barbecue, sadly, have had to close.
The COVID-19 epidemic is real. More and more towns are being hit; more and more people are becoming sick, and sadly, the death rate is going up every day.
But, there is hope.
Every storm has a rainbow.
Pandemics and disasters are going to happen, and how we respond to that disaster shows what kind of community we are. Are we a community of panic and selfishness and despair? Or one of resilience and unity and comparison?
When we can, we need to support these local businesses to make sure they are there when better times return.