It’s nice to have something on our calendar
Each day has brought a new headline. It has brought a new problem and a new change to what we think as “normal.”
Each day, we challenge ourselves to live in a world where, in just two months, things have gone haywire in regards to our lives, our economy and for far too many, our livelihoods.
What were once thought to be recession-proof jobs have all but shut down. Those who believed they were essential workers have learned they do not fit that definition.
And, in recent weeks, we have seen Vicksburg’s city government grow increasingly concerned about its finances as the economy remains closed, dragging down the sales tax revenues that fuel city government and city services. City officials have also announced concerns about the hotel and restaurant industries, the outlet by which a special 2 percent tax pays for the construction of Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi.
Mayor George Flaggs Jr. has made those concerns abundantly clear during recent press conferences and city meetings, discussing possible deep cuts to the city’s workforce, including pay cuts and reduction in work hours. And Thursday, he shocked everyone by reminding us that Chapter 9 bankruptcy — an outlet by which municipalities can restructure their debt and protect their assets — is an option that needs to be on the table.
All of the concerns and comments are worst-case scenarios, but when it has come to the COVID-19 virus, many of the worst-case scenarios have played out.
That is why it is the little things, the small reopenings such as parks, and big things such as retail businesses, salons, barbershops and as of Sunday morning, churches, being allowed to reopen, mean so much. We are starting to get things back, while at the same time understanding that masks, good hygiene and some amount of social distancing will be around for quite some time.
One of the other things we’ve gotten back — one of the things that will help bring our community and businesses back — is the Fourth of July fireworks show in downtown Vicksburg.
Last week, city leaders announced they would move forward with a contract with the company that produces the annual fireworks show over the Yazoo Diversion Canal. It was a decision they were quick to defend saying the show brings thousands of guests to downtown, many of whom visit local retailers and restaurants.
And if social distancing and gathering restrictions are eased ahead of the show, then it will provide a much-needed shot in the arm, not just to the businesses who need the customers, but to the psyche of our city and community.
What better way to get over the virus-induced quarantine than watching fireworks over the river?
It could be said that signing the contract for the fireworks show was ill-timed considering the city’s shortfall in revenue. We reason with that thought but appreciate that the city signed the contract under the stipulations that they could cancel the show 21 days before July 4 or postpone the celebration to a later date. That gives officials the flexibility to reallocate these funds if they are needed elsewhere.
We have seen enough events canceled. We have had enough taken away from us. It is nice to at least have something on the calendar to look forward to.