Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today announced the formation of the Mayor's Economic Recovery Task Force to develop data-driven, locally informed strategies for supporting local businesses and employment as the local economy begins to recover from COVID-19. She said the Task Force would develop strategies with an eye toward fostering "public health, inclusivity, and resilience in our community." The Task Force is charged with developing a set of recommended strategies for:
Gaylor Baird noted that COVID-19 has "had an immense impact on our local economy," citing the latest unemployment numbers, the results from the Nebraska Business Response Survey, and the impact on sectors like arts and entertainment, food services, hospitality, personal care, retail, and other sectors. Gaylor Baird acknowledged that the next phase of managing the COVID-19 crisis "involves a focus on recovery and rebuilding," and she said was "looking forward to the innovative industry-led and public-private initiatives that emerge from this effort."
The co-chairs of the Task Force are Angie Muhleisen, President and CEO of Union Bank & Trust, and Ava Thomas, President and Publisher of the Lincoln Journal Star.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Mayor's Economic Recovery Task Force," Muhleisen said. "This crisis has yielded lots of data - statistical and anecdotal - about how businesses have pivoted and succeeded. By collaborating we can share ideas that help build up our community by assisting employers and employees."
"I'm honored to serve on the Mayor's Economic Recovery Task Force alongside Angie - a pillar of this incredible community," said Thomas. "The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed stress points in our community. We have the opportunity to address inclusivity, business, and quality-of-life issues; share and adapt solutions; and emerge stronger and better prepared for the next challenge Lincoln will face."
The Mayor said other organizations supporting the effort include the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development (LPED).
"Our local businesses are the lifeblood of our community, and it's up to all of us to support them in whatever way we can, consistent with public health guidance," said Wendy Birdsall, President of the Chamber and LPED. "It's also up to all of us to support our local workforce. They're not only the most important asset our local businesses have, but they're also our neighbors and friends - the people that make Lincoln thrive."
Gaylor Baird said the remaining members of the Task Force will be announced soon. She expects the Task Force to begin work in June and to issue a report in August.
More information, including resources for businesses, is available at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov.