We’ve navigated the ups and downs of the stock market, recessions and bank failures, drought, tornadoes and cataclysmic weather events, but never before have we dealt with a novel virus that has quickly spread all over the world. It is a sobering reality, to say the least.
We planned for this issue—our first-ever focused on Shopping and Retail—nearly a year ago. As a locally owned media outlet, we’ve always beaten the “Shop Local” drum. I always choose a locally owned restaurant over a national chain, whether at home or when traveling. But as our print deadline drew near, the COVID-19 pandemic hit our nation, forcing shop owners to close their doors and essentially grinding all activity to a halt.
The short-term impact of this astonishing disruption is evolving daily, while the long-term effects remain unknown. As our small but mighty team finishes production on this issue, what is our “new normal” moving forward? How we work through the coming months, I believe, has a lot to do with attitude, creativity and resiliency.
The definition of “essential businesses” aside, all of us are essential to the well-being of our community—and society at large. Every healthcare professional, hospitality worker, service provider, retailer, financial advisor, ag producer, auto technician, teacher, plumber, electrician, daycare worker… (and the list goes on) does their part to keep our world moving. All of their work is important.
In normal times, the unknown “prankster” who placed the face mask over the gigantic sculpture outside the Peoria Riverfront Museum might not have been as well received. But in the face of this pandemic, the community applauded. Based on Grant Wood’s iconic American Gothic painting, the two figures express uncertainty and exhaustion, yet also determination and pride. The original artwork, created in 1930, was a boost to American morale during the Great Depression—a celebration of our nation’s strength and resilience. Ninety years later, during equally difficult times, it is doing the same here in Peoria.
Challenging days lie ahead. Peoria Magazine will continue to educate, inform and build community—in print, online, and (someday, again) in person. Next month, we bring you our annual Community Impact Guide, alongside our regular May issue. We focus on these essential nonprofits as the glue that keeps our community together. In the meantime, stay safe and secure, and be kind to each other. PM