“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou
The term “resilience” gets tossed around a lot these days in corporate and government circles. In essence it means the ability to flex with the unexpected and bounce back from tough times. After the terrible events of 9/11, we learned very quickly that businesses and government organizations have to plan for completely unexpected disasters. After all, the key government failure prior to 9/11 was a “failure of imagination.”
So for almost 20 years now, business and governments have been planning for the worst, even as we work and hope for the best. Here at home, whether disaster comes in the form of a fire, a tornado, or a microscopic virus, the City of Denton is ready for any challenge. We have a professional Emergency Management staff, led by the Chief of our Fire/Rescue Department. We have had an Emergency Management Plan in place for many years.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, your city leaders activated that plan, putting years of preparation into action. This preparation, with the appropriate swift response, is the core of what it means to be a resilient city.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of the threat, responding to COVID-19 means closing non-essential businesses. No government leader ever wants to take such drastic steps. But leadership means doing the right thing even when it is difficult. Good leaders also remain cool under pressure, and don’t make decisions out of fear or panic. This is why you have seen closures and other disaster response actions rolled out in a measured, evidence-based way.
Clearly this disaster will have a major economic impact. We don’t yet know how wide-spread it will be, or how long non-essential businesses must stay closed. I think about it every day. But I also know that Denton’s local economy is very strong. Just a few weeks ago Denton ranked 4th nationwide in a study of America’s “most recession-resistant cities.”
We have already seen amazing resilience in our local business community. The Denton Chamber of Commerce has become a one-stop shop for any business-related questions, from how to apply for SBA loans to helping your employees apply for unemployment benefits. Some grocery stores have changed their schedule so that seniors and the disabled can shop for the first hour the store is open. Small business owners struggling to keep their staff employed have put them to work mowing lawns and staining fences, making sure they have steady income. Restaurants like New York Sub Hub and Thai Ocha have gone back to the old days, bringing your food to your car window or even delivering to your home. Some readers will remember buying beer to go or a couple “set ups” from their favorite tavern years ago. Today you can do the same at Armadillo Ale Works, The Bearded Monk bottle shop, or 940’s Kitchen & Cocktails.
This is exactly the attitude and drive that will keep Denton moving forward—plan, adapt, and persevere. Ultimately, that’s what resilience is all about. Denton may be changed by what we are going through, but we will not be reduced by it.
For up-to-date information on the City of Denton response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, please visit this website: https://www.cityofdenton.com/government/health-safety/covid-19-information.