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LETTER ON 3/15: From Tom Baldrige, President & CEO of the Lancaster Chamber

Impact & Advocacy , Events & Programs , Local Stories , Chamber Updates
March 15 2020
Dear Lancaster Business Community-

With the rapidly unfolding situation surrounding COVID-19 and, most specifically, its implications for business, we are committed to keeping you informed, sharing tips for managing the situation and, as importantly, soliciting your ongoing feedback on best practices and/or tips to help us all manage the circumstances.

If ever there was a time for business-to-business communication and sharing, now is that time. Please do your part in staying informed, following best practices and helping by sharing your solutions and ideas with others through the Chamber.

And, most importantly, please take all necessary precautions to keep you and your workforce healthy.

Today’s updates:

1 - As you likely saw, Governor Wolf has now added Chester and Bucks counties to the list of counties advised to shut down all non-essential business. In order to assist our County's preparation for that potential, please read the following letter outlining the current definition of those businesses defined as “non-essential”: letter.


The letter also addresses some potential assistance for businesses with the following paragraph:

DCED offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to http://dced.pa.gov/resources as they become available. The U.S. Small Business Administration, in addition to local funding partners, may also be a source of assistance for affected businesses.

In addition, Congress has passed an Emergency Coronavirus Bill package (which now awaits Senate action). Click HERE for an article on the pending relief package.

Locally, the Lancaster County Economic Development Company is exploring their opportunity to assist with many of these state and federal loan programs. Stay tuned for updates on this.

We will continue to monitor both of these areas and do our best to keep the site current.  Both the federal and state governments are working to provide relief programs and strategies for companies and their workforce and our site will stay current with the latest developments.

2 - On Wednesday, March 18, from 9 – 10:00 a.m., we will be offering an “Ask-an-Attorney” webinar free of charge to anyone who wants to listen in and/or has legal concerns regarding workplace/workforce implications with the virus. REGISTER BY EMAILING REGISTER@LANCASTERCHAMBER.COM

 
We do anticipate hosting future webinars and will keep you posted as soon as they are confirmed.  In the meantime, please visit our website for an article specifically dedicated to Frequently Asked Questions regarding Labor Issues.

3 - We have developed a landing page on our website designed to share the latest business-based news and resources regarding COVID-19. You can access the site here: www.lancasterchamber.com/coronavirus

 

As part of this information sharing, we are asking you to share your own strategies for managing the situation so that we can enable all businesses to learn from each other. We will be happy to redact your company's identity at your request. As noted above, sharing information and best practices is one of the best ways our local businesses can support one another at this time.   

I have also been hearing about some amazing stories of generosity from our local business community at this time and I would specifically welcome those stories as well so we can all be inspired by the community spirit that is embedded within the Lancaster County business community’s DNA.

4 - As you are working on your own plan, please don’t forget about the businesses that are being immediately impacted by the situation. Per my letter of last week and some additional ideas that have surfaced, please give some thought to the following:

-If you have to cancel a lunch meeting, please consider calling the restaurant and purchasing a gift certificate for later use (the Chamber plans on making this our practice).  This same concept can also be applied to many of the other “non-essential” businesses (gyms, hair and nail salons, entertainment venues/theaters, etc.) and I would encourage you to consider it;

-Many local restaurants are offering take-out and some have added free delivery.  Please check with the establishment of your choice on their current practice and consider giving them your business;

-Don’t default to Amazon or other national on-line retailers for your purchases.  You might be surprised to learn how many local companies are adjusting to on-line order and home delivery options.  Please, THINK LOCAL FIRST!;

-If you have instituted a work-from-home policy, now may be the best time to give your workplace a deep cleaning or tackle one of those remodeling projects that you’ve been putting off because it was too disruptive with people in the office;

-Before you adjust the hours of your workforce, think of the long list of work to-do projects and potential innovations that you’ve neglected.  Now is a great time to redeploy your team to those efforts; and,

-Lastly, please use your company and personal social media platforms to call out any and all local experiences that have demonstrated great service, great experiences and creative ways of managing the circumstances.  Let those companies know you appreciate their efforts and let others know about it too!  [To that end, I am very pleased to report on a wonderful lunch I had this past Friday at Annie Bailey’s wherein they had implemented a host of new protocols that provided total assurance and comfort that they were taking great care of and concern for their customers.  I am sure this type of story can be told many times over as you all experience your own unique situations.]

5 - Finally, effective tomorrow (Monday, 3/16), the Chamber will be operating with a largely remote workforce. Please know that our entire team is equipped to respond to all emails and get all calls at their respective homes, so we will be effectively fully operational during this time.  As of now, our building (115 East King) remains open during regular business hours, but please call before visiting (717.397.3531) as this is a very fluid situation.  Feel free to check in with any of the staff if you have any questions or email info@lancasterchamber.com.


Our current workplace plan (with “current” being the operative word) is posted on our resource page as part of our encouragement for all to use our platform as a place to share.

While we all can appreciate that this crisis is temporary, we also can’t ignore that the unknowns regarding severity and duration make this a very challenging time for everyone. We believe that one way we can help alleviate the angst is through effective, two-way  communication. We pledge to continue to do our part in providing information. We strongly encourage you to do the same.

I can’t thank you enough for your ongoing support. And I can’t tell you enough how much we want to work with you as we navigate this situation together.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Be vigilant about social distancing. Stay healthy. And, stay in communication.  

-Lancaster Chamber President & CEO Tom Baldrige

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Lancaster Chamber
115 East King Street
Lancaster, PA 17602
Tel: (717) 397-3531
Fax: (717) 293-3159

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