Williamson County’s chamber of commerce is collecting information about how the new coronavirus in affecting businesses, and offering a library of resources to adapt.
The resource page offers guides to help business owners care for their employees and create a contingency plan.
Many of the largest employers in Williamson County had plans for responding to the virus before it arrived in Tennessee. However, Williamson Inc. CEO Matt Largen said many small businesses don’t have the same resources to create those kinds of plans.
“That's why I think it's important that we can step in and provide those resources,” he said.
The chamber is also collecting information about businesses that have been affected by the virus, and plans to bring that information to elected officials to advocate for financial relief. The website asks businesses to report layoffs, lost revenue or other impacts.
The chamber is also asking business owners to tell their stories of combating the decline in commerce related to the virus.
We are here to help you through this incredibly challenging time. Visit https://t.co/fzS6tY9KHN to take steps to care for your team, create and deploy a contingency plan, navigate resources for business financial relief, and report how your business has been impacted. pic.twitter.com/6EgKGBiggE— Williamson, Inc. (@williamson_inc) March 16, 2020
Last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that it would work with states to start providing low-interest, disaster recovery loans of up to $2 million to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
For that money to start flowing, the governor of each state would need to request disaster relief, and then businesses would need to apply for the loan.
That type of program could eventually provide some financial relief, but Largen said a more immediate concern is employees who may get laid off because of the decline in business.
“What we're most concerned about are the employees in our community,” he said. “Where can people go to get immediate relief so they don't have to lay people off? That's what we're focused on. That's the human element.”
Business owners can find the resource library on the Williamson Inc. website.