The spread of the coronavirus has left businesses around the world counting costs and wondering what recovery could look like.
As of Wednesday morning, Arkansas County has 144 cumulative COVID-19 cases with 85 of those cases active and one death.
Stuttgart’s Economic Development Coordinator, David Leech, who coordinates the economic development between the city of Stuttgart, said the increase is causing big problems for local businesses and industries during his June 2020 Economical Report.
“We are still low compared to other counties in the state of Arkansas, but we must use social distancing and wear masks when in public or it is going to get a lot worse,” said Leech. “We are going the wrong way and if we do not get this changed, we will suffer as a community.”
The problems surrounding the virus has affected many businesses that have either had an employee to test positive or have had business slow down due to the virus.
Restaurants are still struggling according to Leech and until COVID-19 is behind us he doesn’t see any decisions being made anytime soon to reopen Mr. Panchos.
Rent-A-Center on South Main has closed joining Aaron’s on Michigan whose building is available for rent.
The Van Dyne Clinic on Buerkle Street is for sale and the property on the east side of Walmart is available for development.
The virus has put on hold many projects that were in the works such as assisted living and internet availability in the area.
On the upside, sales tax collection in June was not heavily affected– actually receiving a slight increase.
Stuttgart still leads the state with a low unemployment rate and the new coffehouse, PJ’s Coffee, which opened last month, is a big hit in town.
If you drive by the old Stuttgart Daily Leader building, you’ll notice a fresh coat of paint, as the new owners are remodeling for future business opurtunities.
According to Leech the remodel should be complete by September 1 for Dorsey & Co. to occupy the front part of the building.
Newspaper updates on the Stuttgart Daily Leader, according to Leech’s report, state the online local newspaper will launch in July.
While Baptist Health-Stuttgart will show a profit for June, according to Leech, Baptist Health- Stuttgart will have a loss for the year.
More Arkansas County residents are getting tested for COVID-19 but some results are taking up to two weeks to return. Ferguson Rural Clinic in DeWitt is the nearest testing site that can provide results the same day but due to the quick turnaround of results, appointment times are filling up rapidly.
“I’ve talked to Baptist Little Rock twice last week about getting faster results on COVID-19 testing,” said Leech in his June 2020 report. “This is causing a large problem with our business and industry–We must have the results faster.”
Leech said Baptist is working on this as this is just not a local problem but a problem across the United States.
“COVID-19 is killing our nation and our town,” expressed Leech. “COVID-19 can only be stopped by us, and we must stop it or it will stop us.”