Hillery – Virus has changed community

By Staff, 05/19/20 8:59 AM

PRESCOTT – COVID-19 has changed things in the community, according to Jamie Hillery, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking to the Prescott City Council at its May meeting Monday evening, Hillery said the Chamber hasn’t been able to hold events and coffees as it did in the past because of the virus. She told the panel the Farmer’s Market grand opening will be the first Friday in June, but in actuality the market will open when the farmers are ready. Right now, the problem is produce. Because of the large amount of rain this year, farmers haven’t been able to get into the fields to plant crops.

When the market opens, she said, there’s a list of guidelines on how it should be run, including social distancing and the number of customers there at any one time.

Hillery also brought snacks for the councilmen. She said the snacks were from the bakery at Prescott Flowers that opened recently. She told the council the Chamber hasn’t been able to host a ribbon cutting for the business yet because of the virus, but added, Prescott Flowers still needs community support and has the only bakery shop in town.

The annual Chamber banquet will be rescheduled, she said, but no date has been set. Much will depend on school guidelines as it will be held in the cafeteria of Prescott Junior High School. Hillery told the council one of the things done at the banquet is recognizing individuals and these people deserve to be recognized.

On the other hand, the annual crawfish boil has been cancelled this year. The main reason, she said, is it would take business away from local diners and restaurants, which are struggling because of the virus. This year’s boil, she continued, would have been drive-through only and would have pulled customers away from local dining establishments.

In addition, Hillery said the Chamber has been contacting business owners about funding opportunities available. She said the Chamber has been working with the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office to make sure businesses know about these funds, and, when needed, help fill out the forms. The Chamber office, she continued, is open and there to help people who need to apply.

At the end of the meeting, she reminded the council the Central Arkansas Development Commission (CADC) will be handing out food boxes at the Nevada County Fairgrounds on May 29. She told the panel volunteers are needed to load the boxes and carry them to people’s cars as it will be drive-through only.

The boxes will have meat, other foodstuffs and toiletry items.