KIMMSWICK, Mo. – The historic tourist town of Kimmswick has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Many of the shops and restaurants in Kimmswick are closed, while others are doing curbside business.
Kimmswick Mayor Phil Stang issued a state of emergency, saying the city needs immediate financial help. Shops and restaurants report business is off 75 percent in the last week.
Doing business differently in desperate times. Clothing and gift shops are posting pictures of merchandise on Facebook, hoping customers will shop there and pick up their items curbside.
"I realize we're non-essential, so I'm supposed to be closed down. But how can I pay my mortgage on the building and the electric on the building and my employees?” said Laura Evans, owner of the Design Haus gift shop and Dolled Up Kidz clothing store.
Robin Boyette, co-owner of Smokee Robinson’s Cajun Smokehouse in Kimmswick, said she’s already shut down and laid off three of her employees.
“There wasn’t enough business to keep open to offset what it’s costing us to stay open,” she said.
Mayor Stang said he’s on the phone to ask for help from anyone who will listen.
“I'm constantly on calls with congress, with the (Army) Corps of Engineers, with FEMA, with the Red Cross, all of those agencies. Plus, I've been on calls with various people from the White House,” he said.
Kimmswick had to spend more than $150,000 on a flood wall to deal with rising water last year, money that was not reimbursed by FEMA. Mayor Stang said his current budget is enough to get through the end of this year. He doesn’t see any way out except for immediate federal or state funds.
"What we really need in this city is a bill that…wouldn't require any matching money from the city cause we don't have it and wouldn't require that it be paid back, otherwise there's the potential that this city could go bankrupt and disappear, and that is something I'm not willing to do," he said.