At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery store shoppers throughout the U.S. saw bare shelves for the first time. They also had the misfortune of witnessing disruptions in agriculture, which affected supply chains nationwide. The problem at distribution centers and with outbreaks at meat processing plants, grocery stores suffered considerably. This may be the first time that many in Colorado saw first-hand what food insecurity felt like.
Some didn't suffer as much as those who depend on local grocers. These are the people who purchased food from Colorado ranches and farms, where they bought honey, grains, meats, eggs, dairy, flowers, and more items.
Having community-scale growers allows the farmers and ranchers to get to know the consumers who shop with them. They meet them and start to develop trust through their support. However, these local Colorado growers have a price to pay. They do not receive the same level of cost efficiencies that large manufacturing plants offer.
Since farmers grow such a diverse variety of items, it calls for a different way of meeting the needs of those whom they sell to. The land has to be worked by people. Local growers place put the environment and humans, over profit.
The sacrifices include such things as leaving areas on the edge of their fields for pollinator habitat and also to encourage ecosystem health. This gives them less harvest volume. They have fewer pasture-raised animals, but the animals have more room for roaming. With less production volume and fewer animals, this doesn’t offer them as many distribution choices and even fewer customers.
This is why farmers markets are so critical at such a time. They act as a bridge between the community and local growers. The markets are a great way of seeing just how direct access to food can benefit everyone in the community, made up of local ranchers, farmers, community, and food artisans. All share the same level of integrity and enthusiasm.
During the current pandemic, the farmer's markets, like every other industry, has suffered. Since many of the food stalls are close to each other, the configuration of the markets has to be rearranged and social distancing protocol has to be put into place before the markets can completely rebound.
In a recent survey, 74 percent of farmers' markets have earned less due to the pandemic with 93 percent reporting higher costs. This is a very toxic situation. It is predicted that many farmers’ markets will go out of business this year. If the survey and recent predictions are true then Colorado will not be spared.
Area growers will lose thousands of customers and support. Some farms will sell direct, however, they will lose revenue in the process of pivoting from selling to local markets. Farmers will have to create other types of income-generating ideas to survive. If this occurs then those who frequent the markets will have to rely on an anonymous food system, with no access to high-quality nutritious food items.
Some of the challenges we face during a pandemic while campaigning for politics is that fewer people will answer when they come in contact with campaign volunteers. Signature gatherers find it almost impossible to get people to pick up the pen to sign anything. Political parties are arguing about whether they should or shouldn’t cancel or modify conventions and assemblies. This is the scene of politics during a pandemic!
A major part of campaigning is canvassing and unfortunately, door-to-door contact seems all but, shut down. No one knows this better than Diana Bray, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate who had to receive 10,500 signatures throughout Colorado. Her candidacy depends on the number of signatures she receives.
Many people don’t even want to hold the pen and if they don’t already have one themselves, they won’t sign the petitions. Some even want to know if they can sign online and unfortunately, they can’t.
The Governor of Colorado had to declare a state of emergency, which made the process of collecting signatures nearly impossible.
One of the ways that they have had to get creative when collecting signatures was to go to the person's home and allowing them to sign with his or her pen. The volunteers have gone to the houses of those willing to sign and they remain outdoors and allow them to sign without even touching the clipboard. While this is not an ideal situation, it is better than not collecting signatures at all.
Another problem that many experiences are the inability to get older volunteers, as they are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Many local campaigns have always relied on older volunteers, they are the most politically inclined of the Colorado population. Some senior volunteers are willing to take the risk but many politicians are not, in good conscience, willing to allow them to take the risk.
There are even younger volunteers with compromised immune systems who have had to be pulled off the campaign and replaced. Volunteers have been given the tools that they need to remain safe while working on the campaign, such as face-masks and hand sanitizer. Keeping these things with them not only helps to protect themselves but also protects those whom they come in contact within the community.
Colorado Democratic Party officials reported lower turnouts during caucuses and even those who were in attendance didn’t shake hands they bumped elbows instead. Gathering signatures and local caucuses are the way to get Democratic candidates on primary ballots. This was not an easy task to do, and even further disturbances are expected in the coming months, as we get closer to the presidential election.
How the future of campaigning will occur, as we approach the upcoming election, one thing is for sure, it will be unlike anything that we have seen before. In some instances, it may be better and in others, it may be far worse. At this point, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Many in Colorado who are familiar with theater-style dining will be happy to hear that Boulder's Dinner Theater is opening back up with its cabaret-style shows. The Barton Brothers and Members of Face Vocal Band will be the first to premiere at the playhouse since closing in March.
Unfortunately, the theater industry has been seriously affected by the current pandemic. This includes the infamous New York Broadway theaters and the small-town playhouses. Many actors and actresses have suffered from loss of work.
Boulder’s Dinner Theater has been entertaining visitors since 1977. Also, being featured in their first show since closing will be The Stephen and Cody Show, which features Cody Qualls and Stephen Ross.
The theater's artistic director of Boulder's Dinner Theater said that the guidelines for having the performers 25 feet away from the audience and making sure that the performers remain at least six feet apart have altered what they can do on stage. Therefore, they determined that a cabaret-style act would work out just fine given the amount of space they have.
The show performance is scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at noon, and an evening show later on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, pianists Dan and Jack Barton will perform. Ticket prices range from $50 to $60, depending on the time and show.
With everyone being indoors and distancing themselves from each other, it has been challenging. Performers have suffered financially and creatively, as they have to rethink how they will perform. Now, they have to create new shows to comply with safety guidelines that help keep them and others safe. The performers are excited to be able to come together again to entertain.
While there have been some concessions made, which allowed performers to still perform via Zoom and similar platforms, entertainers thrive when they can perform in front of a live audience, which the Boulder’s Dinner Theatre seems very happy to help them do.
Qualls, who is one part of a duo, said that it will be their first time performing since the pandemic sidelined everyone. He admits that he is looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and is sure to be inspired by those who came out in support of them.
Another local performer was scheduled to perform at New York City's Carnegie Hall for the first time. However, due to the pandemic, this didn’t occur. However, this didn’t prevent them from performing, as they invited fans to a virtual performance.
Now that the state is opening back up, there is a lot of excitement and anticipation of what is to come. The performers have been working hard to horn their skills. They will perform new sets and some old, familiar songs will be performed. The performers want to provide the audience with something that they have been long awaiting. The theater is hoping that they can offer open-air concerts in their parking lot soon. Stay tuned!
With all that we hear in the news about COVID-19, it’s easy to believe what you hear about the real estate crises, especially since so many are unemployed and unemployment benefits have stopped for many. Many are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to see how much of a stimulus payment they may receive to tie them over until the next mortgage payment is due.
It has been reported that more than 400,000 Coloradans are at risk of being evicted. Many are indeed hurting, however, this claim is not true. The formula used to create this narrative is by taking the number of eviction lawsuits that have been filed during low levels of unemployment and rent rates, then exaggerate higher levels of evictions based on increases in unemployment and rental rates. The problem with this formula is that there is no relationship between the number of eviction filings, unemployment rates, or rental rates.
There are 5.8 million people and 627,000 rental units in the state of Colorado. Eviction filing rates are typically less than 0.5% of the state's rental transactions, which accounts for up to 3,000 eviction lawsuits filed every month even when we are not experiencing a pandemic. The number is stable.
There have been 38,353 filings in 2001 and 38, 183 in 2019, despite Colorado's population growth of 1.2 million during that time. Eviction filings have never been below 36,500 in a single year no matter what the economy is like. On record, the high was 50,220 cases in 2007, which was 37% above the state's all-time low.
Again, there is no connection between eviction filings and changes in unemployment rates. The eviction rate has remained stable despite the high unemployment rates. 2007 to 2010 saw unemployment rates escalate, and eviction filings fell. In 2010, while unemployment was at 8.7%, annual evictions fell and were 42,689, which is a big decline from 2007. However, unemployment was at 3.7%.
There have been some significant improvements in the unemployment rate between the years of 2010 and 2019 with a small decrease in eviction filings. The number of eviction filings will not increase with an increase in rental rates. Colorado’s rental rates have only increased by 2.2% since 2001, which is consistent with overall inflation rates.
If it exceeds inflation then it will reflect fewer housing units built to keep up with the population growth. On record, the highest eviction filings in Colorado were in 2007 with 50,220 eviction filings when the average rent was less than $900. When the average rent was over $1,000, there were 38,143 eviction cases filed. Over the past decade, rental rates have steadily increased and eviction numbers have been flat.
While evictions are probably, they are not as likely as most would believe. Simply put, it is not always in the best interest of the property owner to file suit. It is often too tedious and expensive.