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Chamber Chat: Reopening the economy will look nothing like it did before COVID-19

The GINCC is gathering responses from small business owners on the impact the pandemic has had on them. And although not a huge collective at this point, we have compiled 38 replies. It’s a mix of retailers, restaurants, hoteliers, short term renters, auto repair, financial, healthcare and a variety of other service orientated businesses.

They range from sole proprietors to small corporations with 94% having 50 employees or less, and 68% indicating that they have experienced a significant loss in revenue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They all anticipate further impact in the short term as the closure of non-essential business continues. These range from less advertising, slower sales and supply chain disruptions, but many indicated it will lead to inventing new ways of doing business. Just over 8% indicated they could face permanent closure of their business if things don’t start changing in the upcoming weeks.

The economic debate happening right now is how do we go about reopening the economy in a safe manner to control the spread of COVID-19. The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) along with several other economic development groups are working on this with business leaders and State politicians.

The reopening would be based on phases that use Federal guidelines, assessing risk of exposure based on type of work, equalizing the playing field between big businesses and small, and implementing new workplace public health safeguards that ensure COVID-19 is mitigated.

Although ideas differ, one thing agreed upon it that the economic landscape will look vastly different to what it was prior to the pandemic and there could be set-backs as recovery moves forward. The economic effects are most likely to outlast the virus itself.

In the short-term businesses are encouraged to keep applying for funding to help them survive these times.

A new round of the Payroll Protection Program is rolling out and SBAM encourages small businesses to apply.

You need to apply through an approved lender. More information can be found at www.payrollprotectionprogrammichigan.com which is hosted by SBAM.

For more information visit the GINCC website at www.gincc.org or email ginccdirector@gmail.com

Editor’s note: Bob Hendrickson is the executive director of the GINCC. He currently resides in Negaunee with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Sierra. He enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and hunting along with family time.

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