The Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued an informational handout regarding SBA Disaster Assistance in response to coronavirus impacts. Jenna Armstrong, president of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce, announced the LHAC has uploaded the handout to the chamber’s coronavirus webpage. It is listed in the “Resources and Guidelines for Business” column located on the right-hand side of the webpage.
“The Lake Houston Area Chamber is here to promote and protect your business. We are a tenacious business community that has persevered through tough times before, and together we WILL persevere again. All business and community updates are being posted to: LakeHouston.org/coronavirus as well as to the chamber’s social media accounts,” Armstrong said.
The chamber’s social media accounts are: Twitter: @LHAChamber and Facebook @LHAChamber.
In addition to announcing the website reference and social media references, Armstrong provided the following advice: “With the impacts of COVID-19 on our local business community already in effect, in addition to good hand hygiene and common-sense precautions with your employees and patrons, The Lake Houston Area Chamber encourages all local businesses to consider the following:
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.
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.
For your employees: Check, modify and communicate HR policies regarding remote working, sick leave and compensation during this health crisis. Try to ensure your policies are as flexible and non-punitive as possible. Sick employees should be encouraged to stay home.
For your work flow: 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 (consider apps such as Slack and Zoom).
For your cash flow: Communicate with your landlord (or tenants) and lenders about expectations and request flexibility (better to have that conversation now).
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 time and don’t touch your face, or anyone else, for that matter.
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 from us!
Armstrong noted the following events have been recently postponed or canceled and more will likely follow:
- BizCom Kingwood (April 2) is postponed.
- City of Humble Good Oil Days has been canceled.
- All activities at the Bender Performing Arts Center are canceled through the end of March.
- All large public events at the Civic Center are canceled through April 4.
- The Senior Activity Center will be closed through Tuesday, March 31.
- Activities/rentals at city parks with more than 250 people have been canceled through the end of March.
- Humble ISD will be closed through April 10. All activities and events that were scheduled in Humble ISD are canceled and buildings are closed.
- Lone Star College-Kingwood is extending Spring Break and plans to resume classes Monday, March 23.
Armstrong urges everyone to continue to check the chamber’s social media and its LakeHouston.org/coronavirus webpage.
“Stay safe and healthy. Stay calm. Let us know if you need assistance. And remember to support your local chamber businesses!” she said.