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Chamber Chat: Re-engaging as a society, a year into pandemic

It’s coming into a full year where events and social gatherings have been limited. Throw on top of that a turbulent year of political distress and here we are.

Looking back at it, most businesses and organizations have survived. Either by cutting operational expenses, getting creative with offerings, or a combination of both.

Talk to anyone and I think we all agree it hasn’t been easy. Even with an unprecedented influx of federal money into the economy, businesses have faced challenges equal to or greater than the Great Recession. Taking a straw poll from our membership it’s been a mixed bag.

Some businesses have come out ahead of expectations while others, especially the food and hospitality industry, have been up-ended and struggling.

My feeling is that we’re not experiencing an economic recession, but rather a social recession with economic fallout.

Moving forward it appears we’ll be returning to the “normal” by the end of 2021. We’re not there yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. And as we do there will be a times where portions of our society will be ready to charge ahead while others will want to put the brakes on.

It’s finding the balance to that we’ll be working through as a chamber of commerce to re-engage with our communities.

Before the pandemic I would estimate that social functions (business after hours, fundraising events, face to face meetings and dinners) made up about 80 percent of our activities. The remain 20 percent was maintaining databases, letter writing and online work.

The coronavirus basically flipped that.

As we start moving forward with our re-engagement plans for events will be taking into account current COVID conditions and follow State mandates. We recently worked on approval with the City of Ishpeming using a COVID risk and mitigation matrix for the West End Winter Wonderland to be held at Al Quaal Recreation Area on March 13.

We look forward to re-engaging with the community and want to do that in the safest and most responsible way possible.

To learn more about the GINCC, visit our website at www.gincc.org, give us a call or stop in. Office hours are 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday. We are at times out of office on Chamber business. Please call ahead to confirm a visit, 906-486-1111.

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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