By Dana F. Connors
Here we are at the end of another hectic, historic year. Back in March, summer felt so far away, and now, as the weather gets colder, it feels like that was a long time ago. Despite all that is going on around us, this holiday season brings with it hope and anticipation. Perhaps it’s the contrast to last year’s holiday season that makes 2021 seem brighter.
As we welcome the holidays, we often look for signs of encouragement. The economy seems to be recovering steadily, as supply and demand concerns start to level off a bit. Maine hotels and restaurants recently reported record-breaking summer sales. And, there is a renewed commitment to shopping and dining locally this holiday season – one we hope will continue long after the pandemic wanes. When we shop local, we support business owners and employees who are our neighbors, keeping those jobs here in Maine. A recent national statistic estimated that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays in the local economy.
Last week’s announcement of COVID’s Omicron variant is a sobering reminder that there is still reason for hesitation and caution. Please remember to practice social distancing and masking as you shop and celebrate with family and friends this month. We encourage you to get vaccinated or get your booster. Using these proven, effective tools in our pandemic toolbox improves our ability to navigate the pandemic and to fight the next wave when it comes.
Those concerns should not dampen our hope this holiday season! Mainers are resilient; Mainers are proud – we knew that long before COVID came along. The holiday spirit is alive and well in Maine. It resonates throughout our communities. And, like we always have, we’ll do what needs doing and make the very best of the holiday season and the winter ahead.
On behalf of the staff and board of the Maine State Chamber, I wish you and your employees a healthy, happy holiday season! Be kind to each other and stay well.