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. If you missed a daily update, refer to our listing page .

We urge you to watch the three upcoming webinars this week presented by the TN Chamber and the U.S. Chamber today at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and Friday at noon. Details are below. These informative webinars will give you insight in how the re-opening of the economy will proceed in the coming weeks and the programs available to your business.
STATEWIDE COVID-19 TESTING
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced free COVID-19 testing will be available for any Tennessean, regardless of traditional symptoms, as the Unified-Command group ramps up an aggressive effort to expand testing capacity across the state.

The expanded testing effort launches this weekend, April 18-19, 2020, with the Tennessee National Guard popping up 15 drive-through testing sites across the state. Drive-through testing sites will also be available during the weekends of April 25-26 and May 2-3.

A full list of sites can be accessed  here . In addition to drive-through sites, all rural county health departments across the state offer free COVID-19 testing 5 days a week.

Tennessee Department of Health Nurses and Tennessee National Guard medics will perform tests at each site and results are projected to be delivered to participants within 72 hours of testing.

Even though Blount County is not listed for this weekend, you may travel to other areas to get tested. Blount County will be listed in the next two weekends, so be on the lookout.

A reminder that you can get tested at the Blount County Health Department Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-noon.

HELP US SAVE SMALL BUSINESS
The Blount Partnership is beginning to work on Phase 2 of its Business Relief Fund which provides money to qualifying businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.
 
It provided grants to 11 small businesses during Phase 1 which concluded April 9.

As we move forward into Phase 2, we are looking for ways to address how businesses can return to work safely, successfully and with sustainability. This next step begins a process to bring the economy back.  

If you wish to donate to the Blount Partnership Business Relief Fund, visit here .
Additionally, the U.S. Chamber is launching a nationwide Save Small Business Initiative to help s mall business owners who are fighting to keep their workers employed and their dreams alive.

We are committed to mobilizing and maximizing the impact of the nation’s response. Join us in supporting small businesses, their workers, and the families and communities that depend on them.

ENGAGING VIRTUALLY
Our Impactful Storytelling session scheduled for April 16 is still on, and now it's virtual. It's also been tweaked to address the unique challenges of engaging virtually.

Recent events have pushed many into the virtual world; some of us are now there almost exclusively. As you’ve likely noticed, engaging in the virtual world is different. It isn’t necessarily worse, and can be better, but it’s definitely different.

In “Engaging Virtually” you’ll learn how to thrive and shine in the virtual world. We’ll discuss the three things you have to work with when virtual: environment, technology and yourself. Failing to make the most of all three can result in looking unprofessional and not getting desired results.

Choose between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m . No registration necessary.
OTHER WEBINARS
Links to future and past SBA loan, PPP, CARES Acts webinars can be found on our webinars page . Here's some of those in the upcoming days.
DAILY SBA LOAN INFORMATION SESSION
TNECD is hosting a daily webinar for SBA-loan related inquiries, Monday through Friday. Note: Links refresh daily. Check back – log in information is available immediately before the call. The afternoon calls are from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. EDT and will exclusively assist Tennessee businesses with COVID-19 disaster loans inquiries.

COVID-19 LENDING OPTIONS
April 16 - 11 a.m.
Join the TN Chamber for a deep dive on COVID-19 and lending options with the Tennessee Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association. The speakers, Colin Barret, President/CEO at the  Tennessee Bankers Association  and Dan Martini, Vice President of Congressional Relations & Political Affairs at the  American Bankers Association , will walk through the various options available to employers struggling to maintain cash flow through the fight against coronavirus.
U.S. CHAMBER WEBINARS
The country is beginning an important conversation about responsible ways to restart the economy that requires planning and novel support.   

From barriers to reopening, to big questions about immunity and liability, to ways employers can incorporate innovative approaches to safety into the workplace, the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s program series Path Forward  will foster dialogue on helping America prepare to restart the economy and get millions of people back to work.  

Featuring deep-dive conversations with a cross-sector of experts led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Clark, Path Forward will air twice-weekly on Mondays and Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. ET  (April 16, 20, 23, 27, 30) to explore the complex issues that must be considered as part of a responsible reopening strategy.

Friday, April 17 at noon ET, Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will team up for a fourth virtual National Small Business Town Hall to help small business owners alike navigate the programs that are available to them. 

BLOOD DRIVE COMING NEXT WEEK
MEDIC Regional Blood Center is hosting a temporary, extended inside blood drive in the Gary Hensley Auditorium at the City of Maryville Municipal Building (400 W. Broadway, Maryville) from April 23 through May 8 to collect blood products for local hospitals including Blount Memorial.

The drive takes place weekdays only from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment only. Donors can schedule their appointment by calling 865-521-2658 or online at www.medicblood.org . For an online appointment, follow the link to donate and enter Blount County in the search criteria.

There is an ongoing need for O Positive, O Negative and A Positive blood types. Donors are truly the saving lives in our community.
FUNDING, UNEMPLOYMENT, HEALTH OPTIONS
This loan program provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.

Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.
Bridge Loans enable small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.

Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan.
The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.
Congress has created new temporary Paid Sick Leave and paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) programs that are 100% reimbursable by the federal government. Check requirements, eligibility and exemptions using this guide.
If you lost or expect to lose your health insurance, you may be eligible to apply for health insurance through a Special Enrollment Period, and depending on your income, you may qualify for a subsidy to reduce the cost of your health insurance premium.
The  Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)  provides 39 weeks of eligibility for individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for Ul benefits. (Self-employed, gig workers, independent contractors)
This Pandemic Unemployment Compensation included an additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all Ul recipients; and provides an additional 13 weeks of UI benefits.

To apply for PUA, claimants will need to file an application on  JOBS4TN.gov  or call (844) 224-5818.
Get information on coronavirus (COVID-19) tax relief for businesses and tax-exempt entities. This includes Filing and Payment Deadline Extended, Employee Retention Credit Available for Many Businesses Financially Impacted by COVID-19 and Coronavirus-Related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small- and Mid-Size Businesses
We have compiled quick reference sheets for these SBA Loan options.
SOFT SKILLS TRAINING
Free soft skills sessions are offered in partnership by the Blount County Public Library, the Adult Education Foundation of Blount County and the Blount County Chamber of Commerce.

All sessions will be conducted via Zoom Meeting.  Click here to download Zoom . It's FREE!

Registrations are currently being accepted online at  www.blountchamber.com   for a class entitled  Networking Strategically on April 24 . Build a network that is beneficial and strategic. Learn how to avoid networking traps and break out of the mold in order to advance project and professional goals.

All participants will earn .5 CEUs per session for participating. They will also receive an email survey two months after workshop participation to assess application of new ideas.
REVIEW OUR BUSINESS RESOURCES
If you have questions about any business related topic about the COVID-19 crisis, please refer to our Managing Your Business During the COVID-19 Outbreak page that is updated daily. There's good information that can point you in the right direction.

Also take advantage of our member-to-member offers at the bottom of this email and online . There are a number of resources that you may find beneficial.
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.

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.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT BUSINESSES?
  • Buy gift cards
  • Order carry-out OR delivery
  • Engage with them and review them positively on social media or the web
  • Order an item and ask for it to be held until you can pick it up
  • Tip generously if you can
  • Check on owners and staff; ask what you can do, if only to listen
BEEF. IT'S WHAT'S FOR DINNER
Century Harvest Farms is offering 10% off a purchase from its online store
Use the code BLOUNTCHAMBER at checkout.

BUSINESS/LEADERSHIP ADVISORY
Vistage  — Free public  Coronavirus Resource Center  - a public, one-stop shop to help business leaders better lead themselves and others during these challenging times.
 
Also from Vistage, "The Situation Room" — a twice-weekly informal, live virtual forum for greater Knoxville area business owners, CEOs, and senior executives. Its purpose: To help owners and senior leaders from all industries to stay connected, compare notes, ask questions, share learnings, confront reality, and otherwise get help and perspective from similarly situated peers. Mondays and Thursdays at 11:30a ET, usually an hour or less, depending on number of attendees. Free. Sign-up is required (to avoid Zoom-bombing), contact Vistage Chair  Kurt Greene

BLOUNT COUNTY LIBRARY ONLINE RESOURCES
Blount County Library -- Click the link to the left and see that t he BCPL offers plenty of reading materials through its Tennessee READS resource which provides digital access to both audiobooks and e-books for children and adults. It also offers many online resources for businesses.

COMMUNICATIONS
AT&T -- AT&T will waive domestic wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers incurred because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic. These fees will be retroactively waived, dating back to March 13. We will not terminate the service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer because of their inability to pay their bill due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. See expansion of our low cost home broadband service. 

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.

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.

DIGITAL SERVICES & ADVERTISING
WVLT-TV -- Offering TV advertising and digital services like SEO, SEM, targeted video and display and OTT. Willing to match in value for new advertisers schedule to get the word out for “we are open,” “we are hiring,” etc. Contact Allen Koch .

EMPLOYER - EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS
Gallaher & Assoc . -- proactive in research, outbreak response planning, communications with our employees and customers.  The resources we've have assembled may not fit for everyone, but I am pleased to share with all to assist in any way other businesses and employers in the area.   Download here .

EYE CARE
Blount County Eye Center -- Offering doctors to everyone in the community for all eye-related issues and questions. Our doctors are on call 24/7 to triage any needs regardless of if you are a current patient or not, insurance or ability to pay. We're able to help with contact lens supplies, broken glasses and telemedicine options. 

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.

HEALTH AND LIFE BETTERMENT
Resilient Pathway -- Offering free online classes, prayer in the virtual vertical gardens, and an open space for all healthcare providers to reflect and be heard.

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).

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.

PERSONAL MEETING SPACE
Airport Hilton -- Working from home not going as planned or just need a quite space to get work done? The Hilton Knoxville Airport is offering a special Home Office Package during this time where seclusion is key. Please contact the hotel's Sales and Catering Department to inquire. 865-970-4300 option 2.

Luxbury Inn -- Do you or a family member need a quiet space? Let Luxbury Inn help with suites offering spacious lodging space that are complete with full size appliances and strong Wi-Fi.

PEST MANGEMENT
Pest-OPS : Let us help manage mosquitoes for $45/month. We can also take care of your spiders, carpenter bees and wasps at your home and business. Please give Jeff Haun a call at 865-567-7665.

PRINTING
Ullrich Print Plus -- Offering 20% discount on all in-house printed materials including print, copy and sign services. All promotional products are a 10% discount. These offers are good for Blount County businesses. We also have access to certified Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Moving to Blount County in May. 3211 Regal Drive Unit B Alcoa TN 37701

PROFESSIONAL CLEANING
Restoration 1 -- COVID-19 Emergency Disinfection available 24/7. Providing disinfecting services for retail businesses that have a confirmed or unconfirmed Covid 19 exposure. Our prices are $0.55 a square foot for most places.

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

REMOTE WORKFORCE
PCS, Inc – We can help your organization with secure remote control of office PCs, secure VPN access, remote monitoring and maintenance, or fully managed worry-free IT support. Give us a call at 865-273-1960 or email sales@pcsknox.com .

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 .

Gallaher -- Gallaher is here to assist you with your remote working needs. We offer remote telephony options as well as ways to monitor your business while you are away. Call 865-970-2471 for more information.

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.




SEO & DIGITAL MARKETING
BigWheel -- Your website and social media presence are more important than ever. With so many people stuck at home, your social media and website are more important than ever. BigWheel can help you get in front of new customers, keep current clients engaged, and drive sales online. Get a free SEO audit and digital marketing plan.

SIGNAGE
Tip Signs -- Your Local Sign Company is offering 20% off Yard Signs & Banners related to communicating your COVID19 policy to your employees & customers. Also, 10% off all orders with in stock materials.

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.

STAFFING
GemCare -- Gem Care is helping to connect people who have been recently laid off with companies that are experiencing an increase in worker demand. Call us at 865-560-9891 or visit our website

TECHNOLOGY AID
RCN Technologies  announced a COVID-19 community aid program by providing over $10,000 in wireless networking equipment and tech support service free to critical community organizations in healthcare, education, and public safety throughout the East Tennessee region.

RCN can help organizations whose operations have been or will be impacted by COVID-19 with immediate networking and technology needs, including secure, pop-up or temporary wireless networks, CIPA-compliant school bus hotspots, mobile command center networks with advanced threat protection, secure remote access and productivity kits, and more.

Community organizations interested in participating in the free technology aid program can contact RCN at (865) 293-0350 or send an inquiry in through the website at  https://rcntechnologies.com .

TELEHEALTH
Maryville Wellness Center has started weekly telehealth group therapy sessions to help with COVID-19. View the website for more details.

Maryville Wellness Center and Chilhowee Family Counseling are hosting two online support groups on April 20 at 4 p.m. and April 23 at 10 a.m. 

TRAINING
D1's K2 Performance Center and D1 Knoxville is providing online Bootcamp workouts for fellow Blount Chamber members at no charge through 'D1 to U'!
Download the TrainHeroic app using either of the links for Apple or Android
Or, search the app store for 'TrainHeroic'.
Create an account using your name, preferred email and password.
Enter Access Code: 1584968084
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA
If you aren't following us on social media, you must. We are constantly updating information as each day progresses. So, give us a like and stay up-to-date as we move through this crisis.


And follow tourism updates here:
NEWSLETTER SPONSORS