The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce (SACC) hosted six mayors from Delmarva at the October General Membership Luncheon on October 15, 2020, at the Black Diamond Lodge in Fruitland.
Attendees heard updates and challenges amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic from Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills, Acting Salisbury Mayor Julia Glanz, Crisfield Mayor Barry Dize, Cambridge Mayor Victoria Stanley-Jackson, and Princess Anne Town Commissioner President Lionel Frederick.
All the mayors agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major economic, cultural, and educational catastrophe.
Crisfield Mayor Barry Dize commented, “The city is grateful that CARES Act dollars assisted the city financially up to now. The future is full of uncertainty.” Cambridge Mayor Victoria Stanley-Jackson noted, “Our city’s 13,000 residents have endured the shutdowns caused by the pandemic with resiliency, but businesses continue to struggle, and we have lost some businesses permanently.” She went on to add, “Our city has made accommodations to help our boutiques and restaurants, closing streets for expanded dining and retail services, an action which has paid off.”
Acting Salisbury Mayor Julia Glanz stated that her city “Will be allocating dollars for a Shop Local campaign, beginning in October, to promote local consumer spending.” Princess Anne Commissioners President Lionel Frederick noted, “Our downtown businesses are facing these tough times by trying to create demand with area consumers. While CARES Act money has been very helpful, it needs to continue to assist our town and our business sector.”
City budgets have been adversely impacted across Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills said while his town faces a $1.5 million budget shortfall, he credited Rehoboth’s City Manager, who early in the pandemic, “Reduced operational spending and delayed capital project spending which left the City in a much better fiscal situation because of that foresight.”
In the end, Dover Delaware Mayor Robin Christiansen summed up the ongoing pandemic and associated fiscal crisis by commenting, “Winners and losers were picked during this entire pandemic. Big box stores could remain open but small retailers with the ability to better restrict patron capacities in their establishments were closed. NASCAR put forth a COVID safety plan for fans at Dover International Speedway and were denied permission to allow a small number of race fans while the Delaware State Fair was open with significant crowds in attendance.” Mayor Christiansen reiterated, “We have to protect our businesses from those who want to pick winners and losers.”
Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Bill Chambers thanked all the mayors and wished them continued strength moving forward. The SACC plans to bring the Mayors of Delmarva Luncheon back again next year.