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Posted 3/25/20 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

To say that Americans are now living under some of the most difficult times in recent history as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus would be an understatement. We are seeing cities forcing residents to stay at home, retail stores and shopping malls closing their doors to the public, schools forced to conduct classes via online and restaurants and bars being ordered to close their doors to on-site patrons.
And all of these efforts are being taken to limit the spread of coronavirus which, as of Monday, March 23, has already infected 39,389 residents and resulted in 467 deaths in the United States. Those numbers in the U.S. pale in comparison to the 358,852 positive cases and 15,433 deaths worldwide.
No one can accurately predict how many more people in the U.S. are going to be infected or how many more people are going to die because of the virus. But it is safe to assume that the numbers are going to continue to increase.
Fortunately in North Dakota, so far there have been no deaths associated with the virus and there have only been 30 positive cases of the virus being reported in six of the state’s 53 counties with four individuals being hospitalized. That’s the good news. If everyone in the state, and especially in McKenzie County, remains vigilant, follows established health protocols and maintains a safe social distance, hopefully we will continue to see our number of positive cases remain low.
While we are all doing what we can do to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, there are some things that all of us can do to help all of the local business that are now struggling financially.
And there is no better way to help all of our businesses stay afloat during the troubling times than to support them by making as many, if not all, of your purchases locally. It is our local businesses that have continually supported the people living here throughout the years. They are the ones who have stepped up to help the tornado victims and those who have lost their homes to fires or floods. These are the businesses who donate money to support our school programs, youth groups, and every other worthy local cause.
Local business owners make these donations because it makes our community a better place for us to live. The same cannot be said of online retailers, the big box stores or out-of-town businesses.
If we want our local businesses to survive and be here for us when the coronavirus is finally under control, they need your help today, tomorrow and in the future.