BP FACILITIES CLOSED TO PUBLIC ACCESS
The Blount Partnership’s office in Maryville and the Visitor Center in Townsend, will suspend public entry into the facilities through April 1.

Blount Partnership staff will continue to provide services via phone and email daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Blount Partnership main office in Maryville can be reached at 865-983-2241, while the Townsend Visitor Center phone number is 865-448-6134. The email address is infodesk@blountpartnership.com.
TOWNSEND SPRING FESTIVAL UPDATE
In response to the COVID-19 cononavirus outbreak, and in what the Blount Partnership sees is the best interest of our visitors, employees and community, the Townsend Spring Festival scheduled for May 1-2 at the Townsend Visitor Center is canceled. The event will not be rescheduled.

Resources will now be devoted to putting on the annual fall event, Sept. 25-26.
TAX DAY MOVED
The U.S. Treasury announced that Tax Day will be moved from April 15 to July 15.

No interest or penalties will be charged for filing during this extended window, but any American expecting refunds or credits may claim now to get their money sooner!
The Blount Partnership is committed to leading the Blount County business community through this crisis. Be sure to check out our continually updating Managing Your Business during COVID-19 webpage.

In today's email there is information about:
  • Gov. Lee inks executive order 17
  • SBA Disaster Loans for Business & Nonprofits open
  • Join our Facebook groups for jobs and food service
  • Browse our resources for unemployment and layoffs
  • Use and share our member to member resources
GOV. LEE INKS EXECUTIVE ORDER 17
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 17 calling for businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning at midnight CDT on Monday, March 23, 2020 until midnight CDT April 6, 2020. The order also outlines ways businesses and citizens should work to protect vulnerable populations. READ MORE .

Executive Order 17 prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more people and also enacts the following provisions regarding restaurants, bars, and similar food and drink establishments:
  • Establishments are to exclusively offer drive-thru, take-out or delivery options to support families, businesses and the food supply chain during this emergency.
  • Establishments may sell alcohol by take-out or delivery (with the purchase of food) in closed containers to those who are age 21 and up.
SBA LOANS FOR BIZ & NONPROFITS
Please file for an SBA loan as soon as possible.
Blount County small businesses and nonprofits are officially eligible for disaster assistance from the Small Business Administration .
 
Small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have suffered economic injury as a result of COVID-19 can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million per applicant to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have otherwise been met.
 
The Economic Injury Disaster Loans are administered and processed through the SBA. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at  sba.gov/disaster .
 
Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email  disastercustomerservice@sba.gov  for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
 
Interest rates for the loans are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofit organizations. The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable or other bills that can’t be paid due to the disaster’s impact.
 
Below are helpful links regarding loan application process.
FACEBOOK GROUPS YOU NEED TO JOIN
Please do the following for both jobs and food groups:
(1) JOIN as your business page AND as an individual.
(2) SHARE with other businesses and individuals so they can join (membership is NOT required to join or post for this group!)
(3) POST your business' NEW or existing take-out/delivery services, menu specials, precautions you are taking for the safety of customers, etc.

We continue to add to the number of available jobs, so please share and post to this public Facebook group . This page was established to assist those looking to hire with an additional outlet.

If your company expects or is experiencing layoffs or work furloughs, or needs employees to fill open positions, please email Jessica Belitz at jbelitz@blountpartnership.com or call 865.273.1214.
We've also created a public Facebook group page . The goal is to offer another way for area restaurants and service providers to promote their menus, takeout & delivery specials and ANY other information they'd like to share with the public.

Help us help and support our businesses when they need us most. Click the link below to view or offer a product or service to assist the public or business community.

AMERICAN JOB CENTERS TO LIMIT ACCESS
Starting Monday, March 23, each American Job Center across Tennessee will begin limiting access to facilities and conduct business through phone and internet. This change will allow state-employed staff to switch their focus from workforce development tasks to claims processing.

The Department will extend customer service hours to 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to serve additional claimants.

Tennessee American Job Center - Alcoa
Alcoa, TN 37701

UNEMPLOYMENT & LAYOFF PROCEDURES (SHARE WITH EMPLOYEES)
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development released a website with guidance for employers and employees affected by to COVID-19. The department has provided resources for mass layoff and unemployment claim information.

These PDFs below provide step-by-step instructions for employers and employees regarding layoffs and unemployment benefits to expedite payment to employees.

MEMBER TO MEMBER RESOURCES
Listed below are resources offered by our Blount Chamber members that may be beneficial during these trying times. Please review and share with another business operator if you think it may be helpful.

Send us your resources and we'll continue to communicate those out to our membership.
ONLINE ORDERING
Reinhart Food Service -- If your restaurant isn’t taking online orders, here’s a great resource that can answer questions and get you started on the path to offering your customers another outlet to connect with you.

Additionally, Reinhart Food Service has available disposables for To-Go / Takeout needs.

PROFESSIONAL CLEANING
SERVPRO -- Trained to adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitization standards set forth by the CDC. Call 865-982-2332 or email office@servproblountcounty.com

BRAND PROTECTION
SD Professionals -- Offering companies with travel-related brands a resource on addressing travel safety concerns with a comprehensive checklist .

COMMUNICATIONS
AT&T -- Tools for businesses & individuals to stay connected, including distance learning and work from home

Spectrum Enterprise -- Offering existing fiber clients the ability to upgrade their current bandwidth on a month to month basis, as many companies will need increased speeds to allow employees to work from home or to host video conferencing.

MARKETING & HR
Epic Nine -- Free virtual (phone or video conferencing) one hour BaseCamp consultation to help businesses identify and implement marketing strategy.

Express Strategic Services -- Information regarding online presence, website refresh, employee communication, disaster planning. Free 1 hour strategy business/marketing session (done by phone or video conferencing).

REMOTE WORKFORCE
Allevia Technology -- Produced a video highlighting .four essentials to successfully work from home

Epic Nine -- Keep Your Pants On! How to work remotely and succeed. Learn how using valuable apps can help your team remain connected and productive while working remotely .

C-Spire -- Make your business remote-work ready. Equip your team to work from home or on the go with powerful resources like Office 365 and UC-One from C Spire Business - perfect for business of all sizes.




IT SERVICES
Creekside Cyber Systems -- Offering 19% off of many services for all who need assistance with IT until April 30. Mention the promo code COVID2020 when you speak to a representative at 865.217.6073 .

SIGNAGE
FASTSIGNS -- Offering 20% off several of its signage and banner products to help you communicate whatever you need to employees or clients. Call (865) 558-0180.

DEVICE REPAIR
Cell Phone Repair (CPR) -- Offering free pick up and delivery repair service on your laptops, tablets and mobile devices. Device will be disinfected upon return.

GROCERY DELIVERY FOR IMMUNE DEFICIENT & SENIORS
SCHAS -- SCHAS has created the S.O.S Program to provide grocery delivery services to those who have compromised immune systems or are age 62 or older.