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President's Update: 7 Things Local Businesses Should Do Right Now + UNC Latest News + Feedback

Dear Chamber Members,
 
I have spoken with many of you over the last week about COVID-19 and how it is affecting your business.
 
We are already hearing reports of hotel cancellations and declines in sales and catering orders at local restaurants. Also, just moments ago, UNC-Chapel Hill announced they will extend spring break through March 22 and move a majority of courses to remote instruction. Campus will remain open. CLICK HERE FOR UNC NEWS.
 
Going forward, in addition to good hand hygiene and common-sense precautions with your employees and patrons, I encourage all local businesses to consider the following: 

  1. For your business: Prepare for negative economic impacts.
    • Capital: Create, confirm, or expand your line of credit. 
    • Staffing: Develop staffing plans for varying levels of customers and revenue (what does an 80% scenario plan look like?).
    • Insurance: Check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and options.
  2. For your customers: Make your place of business as hygienic as possible and communicate what you are doing to customers so they feel comfortable visiting. 
  3. For your employees: Check, modify, and communicate HR policies regarding remote working, sick-leave, and compensation during health crisis. Try to ensure your policies are as flexible and non-punitive as possible. Sick employees should be encouraged to stay home. 
  4. For your workflow: Cross-train employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences. Where relevant, consider staggering start and end times to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time; and create and test remote employee collaboration systems (we are using Slack and Zoom).
  5. For your cashflow: Communicate with your landlord (or tenants) and lenders about expectations and request flexibility (better to have that conversation now).
  6. For yourself: Eat well, sleep, and exercise. Taking care of yourself in this time of stress will improve your resistance to infection and resilience in managing difficult business situations. And of course, wash your hands all the dang time and don’t touch your face, or anyone else, for that matter.  
  7. For your Chamber: For us to best serve you, we need to know and share what our members are doing to manage risks. To that end, please tell us what what’s working and what you need through this GOOGLE FORM
Our Chamber office will remain open as a “Handshake-Free Zone” and we are a “go” on all upcoming programs. We look forward to seeing you and greeting you with our smiles and positivity.
 
We’ll keep you updated on helpful business resources (in addition to what we sent last week, this is a great resource: NCDHHS for Businesses and Employers). We are here for you. Don’t hesitate to call or email if you have questions or need something.
 
For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro,
 
Aaron 

Aaron M. Nelson
The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro 
(919) 967-7075 | anelson@carolinachamber.org 
www.carolinachamber.org