This weekend my toddler and I were playing soccer in the front yard when two neighbors walked by. Her face lit up as she ran towards them at full speed and said, “Look Mama, PEOPLE!” with so much hope and excitement in her voice. The look of disappointment on her face when she wasn’t able to play with them was heartbreaking. I imagine that is the way many of us are feeling. We CAN’T WAIT to be around people again.
The Road to Recovery – Relieve, Restart, Recover and Reimagine
I wanted to take a moment out of maternity leave to address the growing question of reopening the economy. Much of Winter Haven has stayed open for business thanks to your ingenuity, ability to pivot and perseverance. Over the last month, your Chamber has been focused on the “relief” stage of this crisis to find ways for you to continue to do business safely, if allowed, and to connect our members with various financial assistance opportunities. As many of those relief programs have closed, we continue to actively advocate for additional federal, state and local assistance packages for businesses, the unemployed, mortgage and rent assistance and many other areas of great need.
Overwhelmingly, the conversation is now turning to “restarting the economy.” Last week the White House released their guidelines. Yesterday, the Governor convened a taskforce to report back to him with recommendations by the end of this week. Other states in the Southeast are loosening restrictions. While no one wants the economy to reopen more than I do, Florida is unique and this has to be done carefully and thoughtfully, relying on the health experts and with the safety of each other as our top priority.
In my mind, for any meaningful and lasting economic recovery to begin it comes down to two things – increased testing and restoring consumer confidence and sense of security. We only have so much control over testing, but please know that our local health care and government leadership understand this and are focused on the expansion of testing.
Each business can get ready by coming up with your own business plan to make your employees feel safe to return to the office and assure your customers it is safe to do business with you. As much as we wish you could, you will not be able to flip a switch back to business as usual. So, sit down (or dial in, rather) with your company’s leadership and staff to develop a plan. Perhaps these questions can help to get the conversation started:
These are just a few things to start to think about, but take the time to analyze the "new 2020 normal" for your specific business. Find out what else you should be thinking about during the Florida Chamber’s Safety Council Call on Wednesday April 22 from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. entitled OSHA COVID-19 Environment discussing OSHA’s guidance during the COVID-19 crisis, including PPE and working from home safety measures. Register here. The US Chamber has also put together a OSHA quick guide here.
We need to be prepared locally. By restarting the economy in the right way, we can stay open for business and move on to the recovery and reimagining stages more quickly.
Your Chamber team is offering numerous webinars to help your business through this period of uncertainty. Yesterday we launched a 15-second video commercial opportunity for you called, "Hey, Did You Know", which allows you to record a short video about your business to be used for promotion. Contact Rachel to learn more.
Please, stay safe, stay healthy and stay home as much as possible so that we can all have an opportunity to come together sooner rather than later.
All my best -
Katie Worthington Decker
Your Chamber President/CEO
Cell: 863-604-0982 Office: 863-293-2138
Our Vision: To Advance Commerce and Community
Our Mission: Serving, Representing and Enhancing Business Growth