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Here’s to hoping we return to normal soon

How are you doing?

We at The Democrat hope this finds you well and safe and, like me, looking forward to a time when our lives become more like we knew pre-pandemic.

But lots of you aren’t doing well, and we know that and hate it. Lots of you are panicked because you found yourself unexpectedly out of work and don’t know when or if your job will be available to you again.

Some of you have been sick with this virus, or are taking care of a loved one with it, or are worried to death that you or a loved one will contract it.

It’s a difficult time, no doubt.

We at The Democrat are as worried as you all are. Our business is dependent on the health of small businesses here, and when they aren’t well, we aren’t well.

Still, in talking to a number of Natchez small business owners for a story in today’s paper, each has found a way to see a glimmer of hope in what we are all going through.

John Grady Burns, owner of Nest and H. Hal Garner at Nest, said he thinks people will come out of the pandemic with a greater appreciation for friends and family.

Perhaps this time at home with family will re-acquaint us all. Maybe it will slow down our frenetic culture.

Burns also suggested perhaps we would have a greater understanding of the importance of and role small businesses play in the overall health of our local economy.

Small businesses are our backbone. They pay the majority of taxes here. They support our youth baseball teams and band trips and pet rescue groups and just about any other good cause in our community.

Small businesses in Natchez need and have earned our support. I know I will do a better job going forward of making sure money I have to spend is spent here at home.

John Parks, who along with his wife, Malan, owns Pearl Street Pasta, Magnolia Grill and 100 Main, said he thinks the pandemic has made it crystal clear how much Natchez and the surrounding area are dependent on tourist dollars.

This pandemic could not have struck at a worse time — right at the beginning of what was expected to be one of our biggest and best Spring Pilgrimage seasons. Many Natchez businesses make a good chunk of their annual revenue during Spring Pilgrimage.

Natchez will be at full strength only when tourists are confident their health concerns are over and they can travel safely.

Let’s hope that happens sooner rather than later. And I’m confident when it does, our city will plan a welcome back event like none other before, and like only we know how to do it.

Until that time, please stay safe and stay the course.

Jan Griffey is general manager of The Natchez Democrat. You may reach her at 601-445-3627 or email at jan.griffey@natchezdemocrat.com.