Perhaps the only thing that makes bearable the threats of the coronavirus outbreak on Grand Valley businesses is the blessed assurance they’re not alone in facing this crisis.
Just as quickly as the growing effects of the outbreak became apparent, a variety of local organizations geared up their efforts to provide resources and support. Businesses have offered to help other businesses. And customers loyal to their cherished establishments will play an essential role in their continued operations. There’s even evidence some of those who say they’re from the government and are here to help really will.
The hastily assembled coverage in the latest issue of the Business Times details some of the efforts. You can read all about it. But the highlights bear repeating:
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the availability of economic injury disaster loans of up to $2 million to Colorado businesses affected by the outbreak. The loans may be used for accounts payable, fixed debt, payrolls as well as other expenses that can’t be paid because of the effects of the outbreak. Low interest rates and long terms will help to make repayment more affordable.
While the Business Incubator Center and Mesa County Workforce Center in Grand Junction are physically closed, the staffs there continue to help businesses over the phone and internet with classes, counseling and other services.
The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce has compiled lists of resources as well as local restaurants and coffee shops offering carryout and deliveries. The chamber also will offer video conferences on such timely topics as emergency preparedness, human resource issues and handling capital needs.
The Fruita Area Chamber of Commerce launched a Facebook group called Grand Valley Business Support to do just that on the social media platform.
The Palisade Chamber of Commerce joined with Fusion Group USA to develop a free listing website called Who’s Open Colorado.
While the long-term effects of the coronavirus outbreak aren’t yet known, the short-term effects already have been profound and in some cases unprecedented. If the human toll of the pandemic in the United States and elsewhere in the world isn’t horrific enough, there likely could be a fearsome economic toll as well.
For the time being, the best — perhaps only — recourse is to do everything practically possible to stay safe and also enable businesses to continue providing products, services and jobs.
Cilia Kohn, director of marketing and communications at the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, encouraged businesses that need help to contact the incubator and workforce centers, the chambers and GJEP. “One of our greatest assets in the Grand Valley, which helped us through the last recession, is our spirit of collaboration.”
While that’s true of Americans in general, it seems especially true in a place like the Grand Valley that’s experienced so many booms and busts, so many ups and downs. We marshal our collective talents and work together to address challenges. Nobody’s alone in facing the crisis.
And that makes the threats of the coronavirus outbreak at least a little more bearable.