Gov. Greg Abbott’s May 18 announcement that Texas was entering Phase 2 of economic reopening means that every business in the Van Alstyne area will soon be able to resume operations.
Childcare centers, tattoo studios and youth clubs were able to open immediately. On Friday, bars will be able to reopen at 25 percent capacity, and restaurants can expand their dining capacity to 50 percent.
Come June 1, summer camps and youth sports will be able to resume operations.
According to a report put together by City Manager Lane Jones for the city council, the full effect of COVID-19 on city operations has not been fully identified.
The impact will likely be felt more in June and July, because that is when tax revenue comes from sales that were transacted in March and April.
In order to more accurately evaluate the financial impact of COVID-19-related business restrictions, the city evaluated the more than 100 businesses in Van Alstyne and divided them into eight categories: construction/manufacturing, telecom/utilities, general retail, restaurant/entertainment, grocery/pharmacy, professional/financial internet retail and other.
This information was used to quantify the percentage of sales tax revenue each category represented.
With the help of an outside consultant, the city calculated an estimated impact percentage for each category in order to formulate a more accurate projection of what the total impact to the city will be.
Currently, construction and manufacturing represents 40.19 percent of the city’s total tax collections. Telecom and utilities generate 17.26 percent. General retail accounted for 14.12 percent and restaurant accounted for 12.08 percent.
“The fact that our retail and restaurants are a lower percentage than our manufacturing is almost a blessing in this economy where those businesses are hardest hit,” Jones said.
Based on those calculations, Jones said that the city can expect a revenue decrease of around 8.23 percent in June and 13.3 percent in July.
That amount was lower than many people expected, due in part to the fact that internet retail revenue has shot up by over 70 percent, helping to offset some of the losses by general retail
Jones said that the city’s “Stay Local Shop Local” campaign also had a positive impact on area restaurants.
Additionally, if projections are correct, strong tax revenue collection before the virus hit will leave the city with a reasonable chance of still hitting its budget.
“I feel good about where we are, but at the same time we’ve taken operating adjustments internally to keep our operations running because we don’t’ know if these numbers will hold true or not,” he said. “We really won’t know until we get there, but at this point we’re looking very favorable for budget at year end.”
The Van Alstyne Public Library will reopen on June 1 with new hours.
Patrons may visit or take advantage of curbside service from 12-4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Patrons will be limited to 30-minute visits and must say at least six feet away from each other.
While businesses and local government agencies may be looking ahead, the threat of COVID-19 still looms.
On May 19, Grayson County reported its first coronavirus related death. A Denison man in his 50s died due to complications related to the virus.
It was also announced that day that the total number of cases in the county had risen to 99. Of those, five were in Van Alstyne and four were in Howe.
The overwhelming majority of reported Grayson County cases remain in Sherman and Denison, which have reported 105 and 35 cases respectively.