Chamber News
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Live Update from CG Public Health Wednesday
This is an unprecedented time for business owners. With schools closed, daycares restricted, and employees working remotely, we anticipate you have many questions about how best to continue operations. We have asked CG Public Health to help answer some of those questions through a virtual Live COVID-19 Update at 1PM tomorrow, March 18, on the CG Public Health Facebook Page . The Chamber will be asking questions on your behalf. Please submit your questions to us by 2PM today (Tuesday) by clicking on the button below. You may also participate in the Facebook Live and ask questions yourself.
Business Toolkit
We are aware that business owners have many questions and concerns about what the coming weeks will bring. Here are some resources to turn to for advice. We will do our best to continue sending important information as we receive it, without overburdening you with emails.

Here is the latest information we have regarding disaster assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
 
We’re waiting on Iowa to be designated as eligible for small businesses in the state to apply for assistance in the form of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Because these are Economic Injury loans, the rules require each state to demonstrate economic losses to SBA before we can declare the counties within a state as eligible to apply for the loans. The Governor’s Office has been working with SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance to get the appropriate statistics for the application. Unfortunately, we don’t have a timetable as to when a decision will be made, but hopefully it will be soon.
 
Small businesses who have been impacted and want to pass their information on to the state are encouraged to reach out to their County Emergency Management office (see attached list). They will then provide statistics on the number of affected businesses to the state as part of Iowa’s application to SBA. 
 
Eligible businesses would apply  directly  to SBA for assistance as EIDL is a direct loan program.
 
As soon a declaration is made in Iowa, we will be getting the word out from our office through every means we have. You can also go to  www.sba.gov/disaster , click on the “Apply for Assistance” button and then click on “Eligible Disaster Areas” and search “Iowa” to see what’s available. The most recent declaration will be at the top and that’s where you’ll find information on the COVID 19 EIDL Loans as soon as Iowa is declared eligible.  This website is also where businesses will apply for these loans once Iowa is declared eligible.

We also have a website that encompasses ALL the information we have available for Small Business related to COVID-19. We encourage you to check it out.

The U.S. Chamber is working closely with the White House, U.S. government agencies, and foreign government officials to inform and equip businesses with the most important and up-to-date information to prevent the spread of the virus and prepare businesses for the near and long-term impact. You'll find business toolkits, information on the Chamber's role in advocating for local business during this emergency situation, how businesses are responding, and what the economic impact is likely to be in the U.S. and around the world.

Iowa Workforce Development is offering guidance about unemployment insurance for employers and workers.

CG Public Health has compiled guidance at the local level for businesses, schools, childcare, and the general public. They have also set up a hotline, which is being staffed from 8AM-4:30PM Monday-Friday. Contact them at 641.494.3546 or 641.494.3547.
Chamber Events Postponed & Commerce Center Closed
Due to restrictions on large gatherings and recommendations about social distancing, the Chamber's Board of Directors has postponed several upcoming events:

  • 38th Annual Ag Breakfast, scheduled for Thursday, March 19
  • CEO Conversations, scheduled for Thursday, March 26
  • Breaking Glass with Cynthia Warner, scheduled for Thursday, April 2
  • Business After Hours hosted by ISU Extension & Outreach, scheduled for Thursday, April 16
  • All ribbon cuttings scheduled through April 13
  • Remaining Leadership North Iowa sessions have been canceled. Participants are invited to attend the two missed modules with next year's class.

We will contact all participants and sponsors once the new dates for these events are determined.

The Chamber has also made the difficult decision to close the Commerce Center to all meetings for 30 days. We have contacted members with upcoming reservations. If you were not contacted and have a meeting scheduled at the Commerce Center between now and April 13, please call us or email Stephanie for help. If you have any questions about an upcoming event or program, please contact the Chamber and we will direct you to the appropriate person for answers.

Although our building is closed to events, our staff will still be working and available by phone or email. We are committed to continuing to serve our members!
Wellness Tip
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has produced several excellent infographics to share with your employees. Here is one that you may consider posting in the break room or other highly visible locations.

Member News
With information changing by the hour, we are utilizing our website and Facebook to share COVID-19 updates from our Chamber members.

Please tag @masoncitychamber in your social media posts, and we will do our best to share your information with our followers.

You may also log into the Member Information Center and post your business's response or updates in a News Release. We are working on a dedicated page on our website for these updates, and they will appear immediately on your member page in our directory.
Mason City Chamber | 641.423.5724 | chamber@masoncityia.com | www.masoncityia.com