As to be expected, the commonwealth is now over one month into a virus-related lockdown and businesses are bearing the brunt. One of the big questions at Warsaw’s Chamber of Commerce meeting was “What can we do?” a question that many around the country are facing at this point.
“I know we have limited funds,” commented Sara Carroll, President at Warsaw/Richmond County Chamber of Commerce. “We have to be fiscally responsible, so what do you guys think we can do to help the small businesses of the community?”
Brigitte DuPuy-Lewis was the first to chime in, noting that a little communication goes a long way to curing the anxiety brought on by an unknown such as the coronavirus. Keeping the lines open, so to speak, also allows misunderstandings to be cleared up, and businesses are better able to communicate with their customers. Communication will also help people figure out where they go to get their relief checks.
Probably the biggest problem right now though is the Payroll Protection Program’s funding running dry, at least as of the time of this writing, after Democrats in the House of Representatives torpedoed adding another $250 billion to the funding and then closed down the House until the start of May, despite heavy pressure from Republicans.
When funds do get restored, however, Joy Corprew made it clear that she was ready, willing, and able to help people with navigating through the morass of red tape that will invariably result from having to deal with bureaucracy, especially the Federal kind.
Another possible means of support included food. Meals-on-Wheels is still going strong, and in many cases expanding who it reaches out to. For their part, there was discussion among the Chamber of Commerce as to what could be done to help them continue their work, such as a donation to the town. There are about 130 registered people around the town for the program, and the lunches cost $15 on average, which comes out to the neighborhood of $1,950.
The other idea that popped up was the possibility of another “Shop Local” day. Normally done around the time of Black Friday, this could be used to put consumers on the trail of local stores that do have an online presence. This would allow consumers to help keep local small businesses afloat while still maintaining social distancing guidelines. This one was met with approval by Carrol, who noted that they already had a list of businesses on hand.
“The town has some information that they’ve already posted,” she mentioned near the end of the meeting, “about some of the in-town businesses, but it would be nice to make sure that we have all of the businesses. We can compile it and start sharing all that information as we go. Maybe afterwards we can do something for the town and the county, like lunch for EMS. We definitely have to do something for them.”