The last six weeks have been an unsettling time as we all had to learn how to live as normally as possible but avoid an invisible, deadly new threat called COVID-19. Working from home or becoming unemployed, staying away from parents and friends, not leaving the house for weeks – all became the new normal for most of us. And while some of you found yourselves unexpectedly on the front lines (thank you nurses and grocery workers, just to name a few!), those who lost their job or livelihood were thrown into a much-worse new normal that made it difficult to even afford the basics.
So, we have to find another new normal that involves getting our businesses back open while not allowing the virus to destroy more lives. For some, these past weeks forced us to reflect and slow down, so we realize now there has to be a better balance between work and home. But I would guess that most everyone is as ready as I am to get back out there and begin figuring out the next ‘new normal.’ And since the virus isn’t going away, we all have to learn to do our part to help alleviate the threat while growing our economy. It’s going to take time to get back to even close to where our economy was before the pandemic, not to mention Roane County was already showing signs of a slowing economy with closed stores and declining population.
I am confident that Roane County can emerge stronger, and I challenge everyone to help move Roane County forward together! It will take us all, but if we all follow the state’s suggestions and take the TN Pledge, I firmly believe we can bring our community through this crises better and stronger than ever. By everyone being aware, posting the information and following simple guidelines, could mean we get through this faster and safer:
- Screen employees returning to work;
- Keep workplace disenfected;
- Practice social distancing at work and in public;
- Post signage and reminders at work;
- Limit self-service activities;
- Wash hands often & wear a cloth mask; and
- Allow working from home when possible and require staying at home when ill.
The Roane Alliance staff understands first-hand the challenges that the entire business community has had and will continue to face for some time. We are ready to move forward and to help our businesses and community move forward. We receive daily information from our US and state representatives and organizations like the SBA, US Chamber and TN Chamber. We will continue to be a resource and work hard to keep our local businesses and community informed and updated through the use of our website RoaneAlliance.org. We are also a shoulder to lean on. Have a question? If we don’t know the answer, we will try to find it.
And we especially appreciate our Chamber members, many of whom we have been in contact with these past weeks. I hope we were able to help you during this crisis. As a Chamber member you have invested in your community so be assured that the Roane Chamber plans to continue to invest in you.
If your business has been negatively impacted, please know the Roane Chamber is prepared to employ strategies to help. We do not want to lose you as a member, so if your renewal is due we can defer payment or setup installments. We want to be part of the solution to get you back to where you were before the pandemic hit. And, I ask that if your business is in the position to help the Chamber by paying quickly, either in full or partially, to please consider as it would go a long way to help us continue our efforts to help our members and the community get through this.
One last ask. Remember the Roane Chamber’s #UniteRoane campaign that began five years ago with a membership drive? Well we are bringing it back because it means more now than ever before – saving our businesses and community. I hope everyone will get behind it, join and share the social conversations, plan to shop local for everything and #UniteRoane. Learn more about the Roane Chamber’s shop local programs by visiting the Shop Roane webpage. And don’t forget #UniteRoane #ShowYourLoveforLocal and lets move #RoaneForwardTogether!