Good morning Chamber investors. On Sunday, March 15 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued new guidance recommending that people not gather in groups of fifty or more for a period of at least eight weeks (May 11). The health and safety of our investors and our community are of greatest importance to us, and we are making several changes to operations.
In accordance with the recommendations of the CDC, the Chamber is rescheduling or canceling all events between now and May 11. If you are a sponsor, participant, or have purchased a ticket to an event within this timeframe, we will be communicating directly soon. We are also postponing ribbon cutting events, and all committee meetings will either be canceled or scheduled for conference calls. Wherever possible, we are doing our best to reschedule events to a later date.
Likewise, many outside organizations use the Chamber’s conference room for meetings and gatherings. We are asking those meetings be canceled or rescheduled to a later date as well.
The Round Rock Chamber team will do our best to continue to operate within these guidelines as much as possible. Our staff team has significant discretion about working remotely at this time. I anticipate we will increasingly be working and providing services remotely as the week progresses. Any in-person meetings at the Chamber will be exclusively scheduled in advance so we can ensure adherence to existing CDC guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing.
One of the most comprehensive, business-based information source I have found so far is provided by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They have this Checklist for Business, and the main site here: “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), February 2020” .
Chamber investor McGuire Woods sent us this great link on recommendations for employers to consider as well. Thank you!
Another reminder: the City of Round Rock has published the following website, referring people to the Williamson County and Texas Department of State Health services: City Coronavirus Information Website.
Last week, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced it has enabled small businesses to access loan resources for coronavirus response and recovery. More will be included in a separate article today, but in brief: The SBA it designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for the provision of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for businesses and private non-profits in affected communities that have sustained substantial economic injury. This is triggered when a business is unable to meet its obligations and to pay its ordinary and necessary operating expenses.
Finally, in a week where even Tom Hanks announced he’s contracted coronavirus, I think it is good to remember the advice of one of the characters he played recently – Mr. Rogers. In his real life, one of Mr. Rogers more memorable pieces of advice to parents and children was as follows:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
In times of uncertainty (and this week qualifies) I’m greatly comforted by the tireless and dedicated efforts of the professionals that keep our community institutions strong. Community institutions like the CDC, SBA, health departments, first responders, healthcare organizations, scientists, and government are the “helpers” we all can all look to now for current and updated information.
Strong community institutions are what keep our communities, states, and our nation strong. I have been fortunate to see many of their efforts this week. They enable us to marshal the necessary responses to address the challenges we face.