Alexandria, VA

The following Letter to the Editor was written by Alexandria City Councilman John Taylor Chapman, who also owns Manumission Tour Company.

As we progress through this quarantine, like many business owners, I was forced to figure out how to keep my business from permanently closing. Like many of the tourism industry, we have seen one of the best times of the year for our business become a time of great uncertainty.

Like many, I was forced to pivot my business. 

That meant buying a 360-degree camera to set up virtual history tours. Prior to buying the camera, the most photography I had done was with a couple of clicks with my phone’s camera, and this piece of equipment was pretty new to me. I have since appreciated renewed views and perspectives of different sites within Alexandria.

I believe that this pandemic has allowed us to see Alexandria and its people in some new ways, and I am quite appreciative of that as well.

You have impressed me with your thoughtfulness of each other, your flexibility to adapt to this public health emergency, and your strong sense of community that we can and we WILL get through this TOGETHER, as people, as businesses and as organizations alike. 

During this period, I believe we all have a new appreciation for the relationships that we have with each other. We probably chat with members of our family and our circles of friends more than we ever have. I know for me, this pandemic has given the opportunity to reconnect with old friends I haven’t been in contact with just because we have gotten too busy. 

Some of us have also found some time to get some of those projects done, those plans executed or those ideas implemented that we promised ourselves we would do “one day.”

As we look to phase into what will be a new normal, I want to say thank you. Thank you to those of you who went out of your way to help one another.

I also implore you to celebrate what can be our new normal:

  • Celebrate our relationships with one another
  • Appreciate the roles that each of us play in making this community thrive
  • Find time for self-care and also time for each other
  • Support our businesses and organization which make us unique
  • Show concern for your health and fitness and also for those who you care about

While this pandemic is not over, I ask that we work together in our neighborhoods and communities to make Alexandria’s new normal the best it can be. 

ALXnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor for consideration, please email it to [email protected] Letters may be edited for content and brevity, at our discretion.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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