A burst of creativity and a reason for optimism.

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Good afternoon,

As Delaware heads into a weekend we have never seen before there is some reason for optimism.

In the matter of a few days, we have seen an outpouring of creativity from the hospitality business after in-restaurant dining came to a sudden halt this week.

Meanwhile, many giant retailers closed their doors until the end of the month. In a world where the main street clothier largely disappeared, it will be up to Target and Walmart and a smattering of other stores to sell basic necessities.

On the plus side,  carryout and delivery, menus come with an amazing variety of options as restaurants put their formidable marketing and food preparation skills to use.

And unlike neighboring states that ordered restaurant shutdowns with little concern for their impact, Gov. John Carney quickly made changes that included adding beer and wine to takeout orders.

The state’s alcohol beverage czar had earlier ordered a ban on such things in keeping with state law. 

Also rolled out was the HELP, no-interest loan program for smaller establishments. The state Division of Small Business is also asking for businesspeople to pass along their ideas, something we rarely see in government.

There were many cases of owners putting their employees first through a variety of means. 

It is likely that after a burst of activity some carryout and delivery activity will end as many owners face the challenge of paying bills from wholesalers and meeting payrolls for what are now skeleton staff.

Still, it is encouraging that a side of the business that was growing well before the recent troubles is showing potential. 

We also saw the bad side,  often in social media.

Reports continued to circulate in the community, many involving the National Guard closing stores and enforcing quarantines.

Yes, the National Guard is on alert but has not been deployed. If this happens, its mission will be to help the most vulnerable should hotspots like the one we saw develop outside New York City.

We also saw the uniquely  American response to uncertainty, buying vast amounts of ammunition or guns. And yes, it is not easy to find rolls of toilet paper despite heroic efforts by retailers.

Here’s to common sense and getting some fresh air this weekend and when possible supporting local businesses that are going above and beyond. – Doug Rainey

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