At the Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce, we’re working to keep people safe and informed about the recent outbreak of COVID-19. We know that as members of the community, businesses like yours may also be experiencing unexpected challenges, and we’re committed to providing as much support as possible.
Here are 5 steps you can take today:
1. Keep yourself safe and informed. Stay up to date by following credible, official sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and your local government health department so you can respond quickly to changes that could affect you or your customers.
For individuals who are concerned about the potential need for testing based on signs and symptoms or the travel guidelines, call your primary care physician office for a phone screening, which will help determine whether you are a potential candidate for testing.
2. Stay in touch with your customers. Proactively share important information with your customers using email, your website, Facebook page, Instagram Business Profile, or however you typically connect. Remember that you can pin important posts to the top of your Facebook page for quick viewing. You might include information about the measures you’re taking to make your premises or products safe, or how you will handle customer inquiries if there are expected shipping delays.
3. Try hosting online events. In case you need to postpone or cancel any planned events as a result of the outbreak, try hosting a webinar or organize live sessions on social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.
4. Prepare a customer service plan. In order to be responsive and transparent with your customers during this challenging moment, prepare for incoming questions and requests. Consider drafting templated responses for your emails or set up instant-reply messages with information you expect your customers will be looking for. Connect with your customers for free in real time using Instagram Direct Messages , Messenger or setting up a WhatsApp Business profile .
5. Provide a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). Prepare a list of responses for questions your customers are likely to ask, and provide as much detail and reassurance as possible in your answers. Here is an example of what an FAQ could look like:
Q: Can I cancel my order (travel tickets / educational programs / gym memberships)?
A: Of course we will cancel your order / reschedule or cancel your trip / pause your membership on request. Once your order is cancelled, the spend amount from your original purchase will be refunded to your account. We look forward to doing business with you again soon.
Small Business Resources: Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans guaranteed by the SBA range from small to large and can be used for most business purposes, including long-term fixed assets and operating capital. The SBA works with lenders to provide loans to small businesses. The agency doesn’t lend money directly to small business owners. Instead, it sets guidelines for loans made by its partnering lenders, community development organizations, and micro-lending institutions. $20 million in supplemental funding is available to fund administrative expenses for loans to U.S. small businesses via the emergency spending bill passed by Congress on March 4th.
If there is a presidential disaster declaration, SBA may offer low-interest disaster loans. The International Economic Development Council offers a step-by-step preparedness plan for local governments to put in place an economic development plan in case of disaster. The Institute for Business and Home Safety created an easy and practical toolkit for disaster preparation.
If there is a presidential disaster declaration, HUD offers a Block Grant recovery program for declared emergencies, with a special focus in low-income areas. Congress may appropriate additional funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program as Disaster Recovery grants to the affected areas and provide crucial seed money to start the recovery process. Since CDBG Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) assistance may fund a broad range of recovery activities, HUD can help communities and neighborhoods that otherwise might not recover due to limited resources.
Guidance from the CDPH:
SBA Emergency Preparedness Guide CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Combating the Coronavirus, US Chamber of Commerce OHSA Resources for Workers and Employers on COVID-19 Getting Workplace Ready for COVID-19 (PDF) Small Business Resilience Toolkit (PDF) Small Business Resilience Checklist (PDF)
Illinois Coronavirus Public Information Line-Available 10 AM to 10 PM Central Daily 1-800-889-3931
What workplaces can do to prepare for COVID-19, if the workplace has cases of COVID-19, or if the community is experiencing spread of COVID-19).
Potential mitigation activities according to level of community transmission or impact of COVID-19 BY SETTING:
None (preparedness phase)
Know where to find local information on COVID-19 and local trends of COVID-19 cases. Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if staff become symptomatic at the worksite.Review, update, or develop workplace plans to include:» Liberal leave and telework policies» Consider 7-day leave policies for people with COVID-19 symptoms» Consider alternate team approaches for work schedules.Encourage employees to stay home and notify workplace administrators when sick (workplaces should provide non-punitive sick leave options to allow staff to stay home when ill).Encourage personal protective measures among staff (e.g., stay home when sick, handwashing, respiratory etiquette).Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.Ensure hand hygiene supplies are readily available in building.
Minimal to moderate
Encourage staff to telework (when feasible), particularly individuals at increased risk of severe illness.Implement social distancing measures:» Increasing physical space between workers at the worksite» Staggering work schedules» Decreasing social contacts in the workplace (e.g., limit in-person meetings, meeting for lunch in a break room, etc.)Limit large work-related gatherings (e.g., staff meetings, after-work functions).Limit non-essential work travel.Consider regular health checks (e.g., temperature and respiratory symptom screening) of staff and visitors entering buildings (if feasible).
Implement extended telework arrangements (when feasible).Ensure flexible leave policies for staff who need to stay home due to school/childcare dismissals.Cancel non-essential work travel. Cancel work-sponsored conferences, trade shows, etc.