The coronavirus outbreak has brought everything to a grinding halt and even though there are some moves being made to slowly reopen the local economy, the toll COVID-19 has taken on the El Paso economy will be felt for years to come. It will also shut down much of the fun things that you and your family do for the forseeable future.

City officials say they are expecting a potential $100 million dollar budget hit over the next two years because of trashed sales tax revenue, falling bridge revenue, and unemployment claims. Add to that the hundreds of furloughed City employees and you have a recipe for disaster for events and services that the City is responsible for.

The things we might not be seeing for the next couple of years are community centers, public libraries, public swimming pools and splash pads, and museums. City-run youth sports are another casualty of the coronavirus outbreak.

Sadly, in addition to the year-round public amenities that will be put on hold, City officials said, two huge events that bring thousands to downtown El Paso will also be affected for the next couple of years. City officials say they are absolutely not going to hold Chalk the Block this year, and, and "we will very likely not be doing the Christmas Festival of Lights the holiday festival downtown.” It's not only the budget that is a concern for those events, but the impossibility of social distancing that will prevent them from being held.

I know this all completely stinks. It's not bad enough that we are dealing with the daily disruption to our lives what with having to work from home, dealing with layoffs and furloughs, and having to figure out how to be teachers for our kids, but knowing that there won't be any relief from the stress with a trip to the library or Insta pics at Winter Fest either? Jeez, it is just harder and harder to keep a smile on your face. The only thing I can offer is remember how scared we were after 9/11? We got past that, and we'll get past this, too. Let's just be mindful of keeping ourselves and our fellow El Pasoans safe so we can get to the other side as quickly as possible.

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