Five ways to support the RVA economy right now

From Lara L. Fritts, CEcD, President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership

As we face the COVID-19 pandemic together we must also support our economy together. Not everyone will contract the virus – but everyone will be affected by the implications of the pandemic to our economy.

According to Chris Chmura, from RVA-based Chmura Economics and Analytics, the Greater Richmond region ranks 298 out of 384 MSAs, meaning we are less vulnerable to an economic downturn than many other MSAs across the country. This is due to the strong mix of different industry clusters in region and is based on national forecasts with industry employment data.

While we are poised to recover, it doesn’t mean we will be immune to this economic downturn so here are five things you can do to support our economy.

    1. Seek out information from trusted sources. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Commonwealth of Virginia sites have the most up-to-date information.  Businesses should follow these two critical websites as well as ChamberRVA and your local communities’ websites (Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico or the City of Richmond). These websites are packed with information for individuals and businesses. There is a ton of misinformation circulating – so be sure to stay informed and listen to trusted sources as they provide guidance.
    2. Support your local economy. The most impacted industry sector will be our restaurants and retail businesses – yet these are the businesses that make our community special and help the Greater Richmond Partnership sell our quality of life. Even with mandated social distancing we can “shop local” by purchasing gift certificates, take out from restaurants and from local businesses online. My favorite meme was “your local store supported your kid’s baseball team, now support them.”
    3. Remember: slow and steady wins the race. Let me start by saying the Greater Richmond region is open for business. While the way (and where) we are working might have changed, we are still talking to companies about their expansion/relocation plans and we expect to make announcements on projects as soon as we come out of this unprecedented time. For over 25 years, the Greater Richmond Partnership has served as the region’s national and international sales team. The last six months we have been focused on planning our marketing, go-to-market strategy and improving our competitive position so we can continue be laser focused when selling our region. Yes, it is an unprecedented time, and recessions we have endured before don’t compare, but know that this too shall pass and we are poised for prosperity.
    4. Have confidence in our leaders. Our leaders in the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and the City of Richmond have ensured the financial viability of our communities, they have already put into place policies and programs to help our companies sustain. We have federal Senators and Representatives who worked through the difficult task of putting together a stimulus package that will help to keep people across our great nation employed. The Governor and our partners at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership are working to design programs and policies to supporting the businesses of the Commonwealth.
    5. Stay home. The sooner the virus is contained, the sooner we can return to business and our economy can start to recover. So please do your part to stop the spread.