COVID-19 EMPLOYER RESOURCES
In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 cornavirus outbreak, the Blount Partnership has compiled a list of resources for businesses to plan for and respond to the virus. This includes SBA assistance information, CDC printable materials, information about handling layoffs, grants and avoiding scams. LEARN MORE .

The Blount Partnership is here to assist and provide resources your business may need when it comes to your workforce requirements. 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.

The TN Dept. of Labor & Workforce has provided the following information regarding layoffs and unemployment. These PDFs below provide step-by-step instructions for employers and employees regarding layoffs and unemployment benefits to expedite payment to employees.


YOU GOTTA EAT
As CDC recommendations change on a seemingly daily basis, the Blount Partnership has developed a takeout restaurant listing featuring our Blount Chamber dining establishments.

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.

Because of the unprecedented circumstances we are all navigating, the chamber has chosen to encourage ANY business to join/post.

Please do the following:
(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.

Help us help and support our businesses when they need us most.
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.
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
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
Epic Nine -- Learn how using Basecamp can keep your staff on task while working remotely

INFORMATION WEBINAR
KCHD -- KCHD's Emergency Preparedness Division has scheduled webinars for the Hospitality Industry (March 19 at 9:30 a.m.) and Nonprofit & Civic Organizations (March 20 at 9:30 a.m.) to offer guidance from the CDC to prepare for COVID-19.
HOSPITALITY UPDATE
IMPORTANT ALERT FROM HOSPITALITY TN PRESIDENT/CEO ROB MORTENSEN:
As we have been keeping in contact with state officials through this crisis, I HAVE BEEN ASSURED BY GOVERNOR BILL LEE'S OFFICE THAT HE IS NOT CONTEMPLATING SHUTTING DOWN RESTAURANTS STATEWIDE.  It's important to note that any Federal action could supersede this, as would possible action by local government. It is vital that our industry contact their local and federal leaders and inform them of the impact any such closures would have on your business.

AMERICAN HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION CALL TO ACTION
With Congress and the Administration currently considering phases two and three of coronavirus relief packages, and the hotel industry meeting with the White House later today (see below), we must continue to relay stories of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic being faced by thousands of hoteliers and millions of associates across the country. Thanks to those of you who have already engaged AHLA’s HotelsAct grassroots alert . A sampling of stories from across the country is attached for your reference and use. Now is the time to redouble your efforts to share those stories and engage Members of Congress!
 
Other resources for your advocacy:
  • COVID-19’s Impact on the Hotel Industry – A new page on AHLA’s website housing collateral materials to support our collective advocacy efforts.
  •  AHLA has launched a social media campaign (Facebook, Twitter) highlighting many of the stories we’re hearing from you and your members. Examples of that content for your reference and use are attached. We are also using these stories to engage hotelier voices in local and national media.   

US TRAVEL INDUSTRY LOBBY HEADS TO WHITE HOUSE
(CNBC/March 17, 2020) Lobbying groups representing the country’s travel and tourism industry are headed to the White House today to meet with Vice President Mike Pence and other officials to discuss the industry’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the “catastrophic economic impact on the hotel industry, its employees and U.S. economy,” U.S. Travel Association and American Hotel and Lodging Association confirmed.
 
Travel Economics is forecasting a 10% drop in international visits to the U.S. a year, about double the decline the U.S. faced during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in 2003. This implies 8.2 million lost visitors in one year, even more than the 7.7 million international travelers lost in 2001 and 2002, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In all, it anticipates 825,000 jobs could be lost in the industry.
 
The lobby groups have asked for a number of relief measures, including tax credits for employee retention, the deferment of quarterly tax payments, and the ability to carry back net-operating-losses, CNBC has reported. It is unclear what measures the White House is currently considering.