The fast-spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) is prompting large and small employers to enforce guidelines that prevent the spread of the disease.
Businesses are ramping-up efforts to keep work stations sanitized and are continuously reminding employees to practice disease prevention guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Major companies are developing work-from-home operations as an alternative to coming to the workplace.
Some smaller businesses aren’t allowing employees to interact with clients in person, but are using telephones, virtual technology and drive-through transactions to do business until further notice.
Widespread orders to “shelter-in-place” at home has given Amazon reason to hire 100,000 more warehouse workers as consumers make more internet purchases for necessities, plus entertainment.
Still, some businesses may shut down temporarily, or permanently, driving massive unemployment.
COVID-19 challenges are expected to last for weeks or months and will affect all companies in some way.
In response, local and federal resources provide ways for companies to get help and answers to pressing questions as each navigates coronavirus effects.
Epicenter Memphis (COVID-19 Entrepreneurial Support)
Epicenter, a non-profit group supporting local entrepreneurship, provides COVID-19 resources and continuous updates on its website for small businesses and startups.
While working remotely, Epicenter staff are monitoring local and federal policies for community and business relief; researching capital programs; designing tools to fill gaps and providing virtual support.
The agency announces the following virtual events:
- Thursday, March 19, Noon to 1 p.m.
Leading through Uncertainties: Responding to the COVID-19 Challenge
Hosted by InBIA (International Business Innovation Assoc.), panelists will discuss operational changes and the financial well-being of businesses. (Click here for registration.)
- Thursday March 19, Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Operating in the Unknown: How High-Growth Businesses Can Work during Coronavirus (Click here for registration.)
- Tuesday, March 24, 3 p.m.
Making Entrepreneurship a National Priority
Organizers will present a nationwide campaign to create a new civic infrastructure that supports entrepreneurship. (Click here for registration.)
UT Health Science Center: March 19 COVID-19 Webinar for Businesses & Resource Page
On Thursday, March 19, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., CST, University of Tennessee Health Science Center invites businesses to join Dr. Jonathan McCullers, COO of the UTHSC College of Medicine, for a discussion on COVID-19. The webinar will allow participants to write-in questions during the presentation.
Dr. McCullers (an infectious disease expert) will present the following topics:
- Current facts about COVID-19 and the anticipated health impact over the next 30 days.
- Continuous, precautionary measures businesses can put in place for employees.
- Where businesses can send ill employees and what/when to communicate to health authorities.
(To join the webinar, click: https://tennessee.zoom.us/j/934781127. The Webinar ID is: 934 781 127.)
The system can also be accessed in the following ways:
- iPhone OneTap: +16468769923, 934781127#, +13126266799, 934781127#
- Telephone dial: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 346 248 7799 or
+1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782.
UTHSC also offers a coronavirus resource page for anyone wanting more information about the disease and ways to prevent its spread. On the site, citizens can forward questions directly to disease experts.
(Visit the UTHSC COVID-19 webpage at: https://www.uthsc.edu/coronavirus/index.php.)
Greater Memphis Chamber: Business Resources Page
The Greater Memphis Chamber has created a Business Resources Page on COVID-19, featuring video content, links to helpful resources and information on webinars and conference calls.
(To access the webpage, visit: https://join.memphischamber.com/coronavirus-business-resources.)
Baker Donelson Law Firm: What to do for your business
The law firm has provided legal guidance on pre-recorded videos concerning what you need to know about COVID-19 and what to do.
(Click here for access, or use the Greater Memphis Chamber Coronavirus Business Resources Page.)
Community Foundation of Greater Memphis: COVID-19 Grant Support
The foundation has created the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund to provide funding to organizations working with community members impacted by coronavirus.
(For details, visit: https://www.cfgm.org/give-now/covid-19-regional-response-fund/.)
SBA Guidance and Loans for COVID-19 Relief
In response to COVID-19, the Small Business Administration has provided loan resources and business guidance for entrepreneurs.
(For details, visit https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources – links to other business resources are also listed.)
Senate Bill for COVID-19 Economic Relief
The Senate on Wednesday passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a bill ensuring free COVID-19 testing, paid sick days for eligible part-time and full-time employees, and three months of paid emergency leave throughout the disease crisis.
To help offset employer costs, businesses will be reimbursed for some expenses through tax credits.
President Donald Trump signed the bill into law a few hours later.
“The Senate is not going to leave small business behind,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
(The New Tri-State Defender will provide updated COVID-19 business