April 2020 Eureka Chamber Membership News - Special COVID-19 Edition
Staying Connected With Customers Through the Coronavirus Outbreak

As the coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread throughout local communities, we are finding that our environment is changing daily and it can be a daunting task to navigate the daily challenges confronting each of us, our families and friends.

We know all too well that this crisis will very likely have a lasting effect on our community, emotionally, physically and financially.

Of course the top priority is to stay healthy and safe. Yet we would do well to remember that local businesses, like those across the country, will likely be severely impacted.

As a business owner, do you have a plan in the event that your business is shut down or you have an employee that comes down with the virus?

Knowledge is power when dealing with COVID-19 and I would like to share with you all some information about the corona virus and its impact on the workplace in order to provide both employers and employees tools and resources to assist you in the coming days.

Staying connected with customers through the coronavirus outbreak
Your customers may be on self-quarantine, but that doesn't mean you can't stay connected and continue providing excellent service. From ramping up your social media presence to offering online deals, there are many ways small business owners can stay engaged with customers and keep sales alive during COVID-19.

Consumers have increasingly grown panicked about COVID-19. Store shelves are depleted of goods like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Schools are closing, offices are urging employees to work from home and small businesses that rely on foot traffic are seeing their in-store sales take a hit.

If you've noticed a drop in patrons, you're not alone. According to the NFIB Research Center, nearly one-quarter of small business owners say the coronavirus outbreak is negatively impacting them in the form of slower sales (42%), supply chain disruptions (39%) and sick employees (4%). However, in our digital world, there are plenty of ways to stay connected to your customers through this pandemic and keep your business resilient.

Here are a few smart strategies for brick-and-mortar businesses looking to keep their audience engaged and in the loop, even if they're self-quarantined or avoiding public places.

Let customers know what you're doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Send an email to your customers and post signage in your store to assure them that you're doing everything you can to protect their health when they visit your store. Share any increased cleaning, disinfecting and hygiene protocols you're following, and let them know that you are enforcing self-quarantine among any employees who might be experiencing symptoms. If you are altering your hours or closing your store for a deep-clean, you should let your customers know that too.

Increase your social media presence
Your customers are already on social media, but these days, they are likely checking in much more frequently to get the latest updates on the virus. Whether you're posting about the virus specifically or trying to offer light, positive content to help take people's minds off the panic, it can be helpful to increase your posting frequency to ensure you are showing up in their news feeds.

If you operate a service-based business like a restaurant or a salon, you may want to consider offering online sales of gift certificates.

Offer online deals
If your business already has an e-commerce component, remind customers that they can still shop for their favorite items on your website. It might even help to offer a coupon or discount to encourage online shopping while your customers are staying home anyway.

If you operate a service-based business like a restaurant or a salon, you may want to consider offering online sales of gift certificates. Encourage your customers to buy a certificate now, so they can treat themselves and redeem it when the virus outbreak has slowed and their self-quarantine period is over. This can help maintain sales for you, while giving your customers something fun and exciting to look forward to.

Stock up on sanitizing products and make sure people know where to wash their hands
For those customers who do come into your store, it's important to enforce good hygiene practices and encourage everyone who passes through your doors (customers and employees alike) to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

If your store has a restroom for customer use, put up extra signs pointing them in the right direction to wash their hands, and post the CDC's guidance in the restroom. If not, you may wish to offer hand sanitizer near the front of the store or at the cash register for customer and employee use.

Focus on serving your customers through digital channels
You may already offer phone and email support to your customers, but now is the time to increase your customer service capabilities and ensure your patrons can reach you — no matter where they are. Social media is a good place to start, as you can offer the option to chat via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and other instant messaging platforms. You can also offer video conferencing options through Skype, Zoom or FaceTime, so your customers can get that "face-to-face" feel without actually being there in-person.

For more resources on dealing with the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, we have created a page on our website HERE. We are encouraging all businesses that need assistance in navigating the resources available to call the County OES Information line on 707.268.2527 or visit the North Coast SBDC site for Covid-19 information for small businesses.

Please remember that the chamber staff and myself are working hard to support you, bring you relevant and concise information, advocate for your businesses, and promote you via our website and social medial sites. Just in the last 4 weeks we have reached approx 50,000 viewers via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our website. Please tag us in your posts, share your working conditions, email us or call for us to promote your businesses or for support. Let us help prepare you for the new normal. I believe that we are truly stronger together.

Thanks to Nicole Fallon US Chamber contributor for tips.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is creating a challenging business climate in our area and across the country. Your continued success is important which is why we have put together a list of resources to help you lessen how the pandemic affects your business, and your employees. We’ve also gathered some links to resources that may be helpful for employers in general
The Northcoast Small Business Development Center is providing regular updates and resources on their page.

We have published a Business and COVID-19 Special Edition - the Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce shares resources and messages from our community leaders. Click on the cover graphic to read more about support and information for community resilience.
The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services asks for the participation of every Humboldt business to complete its COVID-19 Economic Impact Survey.

The purpose of this survey is to capture current, ongoing, and cumulative data on the total amount of economic loss for businesses in Humboldt County due to COVID-19. This survey is an electronic version of the Disaster Economic Impact worksheet for businesses and is meant to be taken on a bi-weekly basis. Completing this survey will provide data that will be used in the total claim submitted by Humboldt County for disaster relief. Please note that your information will be confidential and not be made public.
Reduced Work Hours

Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the UI Work Sharing Program. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs. Visit Work Sharing Program to learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply.
Click the financial resources graphic for a comprehensive menu of help being offered through local financial institutions. Stay tuned for listings of grants, low-interest loans, payment help, and much more.
Do you have a marketing strategy in place for your business amidst covid-19? Here's some tips and a great article by Retail Strategies to help you navigate through these difficult times.
Expanded Telehealth Services
Your safety is important to us.
At St. Joseph Health Medical Group we know this is a stressful time to be worrying about your daily health care needs. That's why we're pleased to announce that you can now meet face-to-face with your provider from the comfort of your home using a smartphone, tablet or computer – for the same price as your standard office visit copay.
Membership Matters! Enroll today and support your local EMS providers.
Cal-Ore Life Flight continues to support our community by being on standby 24/7 every day to accommodate all Emergency medical transports in Humboldt County.

Please keep our EMS providers in mind, keeping them healthy and safe to continue to provide emergency medical assistance to our communities we serve.
Investor Satisfaction
ReProp Investors expect stable real estate investment returns. This is why they enjoy investing in our fund or direct Trust Deed investments. Our careful underwriting and in-house servicing keeps their funds safe.
The Workplace: a Podcast by CalChamber
The Workplace is a podcast by CalChamber that provides expert and entertaining commentary on issues critical to California employers and employees. Episodes include discussions about California employment laws, legislative proposals, and national and state politics.

Federal CARES Act Offers Relief to Small Businesses
Congress passed and President Donald J. Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which, among other provisions, provides financial relief for small businesses through the way of small business loans that can ultimately turn into grants. xt Link