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How the Louisville community has adapted during COVID-19

A local photographer and Louisville resident documents his small town trying to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

LOUISVILLE, Colo — Former 9NEWS photographer Chris Wheeler, now with Great Divide Pictures, found himself sitting around the house to social distance but he knew history was happening all around him. 

Being a journalist, Wheeler grabbed his still camera and headed out to capture pictures and stories of a moment in history. He visited small businesses that are shut down and others that are still open, but barely hanging on. 

The once bustling streets of Louisville, Colorado were pretty much empty. The happy-go-lucky mood in town had turned to sadness. Louisville was just trying to survive a coronavirus winter.

Struggle is nothing new in Louisville. The town was settled by immigrant miners in 1878. They knew all about struggle, but nothing like this.

The closure of many businesses and a stay-at-home order was greeted by shock, fear and uncertainty. 

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You could see it in the faces of the merchants. Even restaurants and breweries that got to stay open for takeout felt the pressure. Survival can be a struggle even in better times, when rent and taxes often exceed $10,000 dollars a month. With little or no income, razor thin margins had nearly vanished.

Credit: Chris Wheeler

But then something happened. The residents left the safety of their homes to support their home town businesses. 

They lined up for takeout and shopped online for merchandise. In a desperate attempt to survive, the businesses adapted. They owners said there were no words to describe their appreciation but they know there are still dark days ahead. 

Online shopping and curbside sales can only keep you going for so long. But one thing just about every business owner in town shares is hope. That and the knowledge that in this struggle, the community has their back. 

Credit: Chris Wheeler

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