Before Governor Tim Walz ordered the closure of bars and restaurants 5 p.m. March 17, the staff at the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce started brainstorming ways to support local businesses through the turmoil caused by the coronavirus COVID-19.
“We were gathering in our office on Monday morning and we all had the thought that this shutdown might be coming,” said Stacy Jensen, the communications manager for the chamber. “It’s kinda amazing what you can come up with in a short amount of time.”
As the announcement came a few hours later that restaurants, bars, fitness centers and entertainment businesses would be closed to in-house customers but would allow for take-out and delivery, the staff at the chamber quickly put together a Facebook page called “The Great Valley Take-out Rally.” This resource gathers the take-out and delivery information for local businesses and puts them together in one list for residents to have quick access to. This Facebook page, found by searching for The Great Valley Take-out Rally, also gives updates on menus and procedures on how to order online or by phone, yet remain at a safer distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We wanted to get a way to start rallying people to support these local businesses,” Jensen said. “We also know that it is most likely that these businesses are already struggling this time of year as we exit the difficult winter season.”
Jensen said that in a mater of hours, the chamber has gathered information for about 30 businesses and the list continues to grow. As of press time, the Facebook page has over 800 followers. The list has also grown to include businesses that are not food related that are offering online purchasing and pick up.
“The worst thing that could happen is that some of our businesses would close,” Jensen said. “As we pulled together what we could, it’s been so great to see it working the way we hoped it would.”
The list will continued to be updated as the shutdown continues, but Jensen said that the list will continue after the shutdown is over.
“We may change the name to just ‘The Great Valley Rally,’ but we known that we are going to need to keep supporting businesses after this is over,” Jensen said.
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