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Businesses would be smart to join initiative

Even though the City of Natchez has issued a “Back to Business” order, it is important to remember that we are not out of the COVID-19 woods yet.

The order, which outlines procedures for some businesses to get back into operation, is the first step in a long, slow process.

As Gov. Tate Reeves has said, coming out of shelter-in-place and stay-at-home executive orders is not like flipping on a light switch on and returning back to business as usual. It is more like turning up the dimmer switch, slowly.

The “Back to Business” order is just the first phase of a long process of turning up that dimmer switch.

Consumers are taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and most Americans have adhered to the shelter-in-place orders because they recognize the danger of the disease.

Such cautious consumers will not return to business if they do not feel secure in doing so post COVID-19.

That’s why members of an Economic Recovery Task Force put together by Natchez Now and Natchez Inc. and Concordia Economic Development has been hard at work in recent weeks creating a Shop SMART Miss-Lou initiative to help businesses follow proper procedures in reopening and gaining certification to prove they are operating under safe protocols.

We urge business owners to visit natchezinc.com and download a copy of the checklist, which is the first step in earning Shop Smart designation.

It doesn’t cost anything and it will provide valuable reassurance to consumers when they are ready to begin shopping again.

It also is vital that we support our local merchants and shop with them every chance we get when they reopen.