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 .
Review Thursday's webinar entitled Integrating Employees Back Into The Workplace presented by Keeli Boyce from Express Strategic Services.

Another thought provoking webinar from Thursday is entitled " How is the Pandemic Influencing Consumers? " presented by U.S. Chamber Foundation Path Forward program.

Here's a blog from one of our newest members that provides thoughts on three things to consider when opening post COVID-19 .

Finally, Allevia Technology has two ways to help your business save money right now.
GUIDELINES FOR CLOSE CONTACT BIZ
Here's a snapshot of Gov. Lee's economic recovery guidelines.

If your business is in Blount County, you utilize the Tennessee Pledge guidelines issued by the governor.

Specific guidelines are highlighted here:
April 27 was opening for restaurants .
April 29 was opening for retailers .
May 1 is for fitness centers .
May 6 is for close contact businesses.

Knox County and Knoxville City businesses must adhere to the Knox Government guidelines posted here .
KEY HIGHLIGHTS FOR CLOSE CONTACT BUSINESSES
Business Process Adaptations
  • Limit the number of customers to 50% of fire code capacity, and practice strict social distancing between customers
  • Services will be offered by appointment only; no walk-ins
  • Make appropriate physical modifications to accommodate social distancing. Workstations should be at least 6 feet apart, with additional measures taken as necessary to ensure that all people stay 6 feet apart at all times except for the staff providing a service to their client; physical barriers to be used where necessary
  • Prohibit use of waiting areas (e.g., could adopt such practices as notifying customers by call or text message) or serenity lounges; limit use of other common areas by multiple people at one time (e.g., elevators, breakrooms, etc.)
  • Ensure thorough workstation and equipment disinfection after each customer (i.e. sanitize all equipment, instruments, capes, smocks, linens, chairs and work area); alternatively, utilize single-use or disposable items
  • Implement enhanced sanitization of commonly touched surfaces and equipment (i.e., at least every two hours and when visibly soiled), using CDC recommended sanitizers and disinfecting protocols
  • Discard any single-use tools (e.g., files, buffers, neck strips) immediately after use
  • Daily deep cleaning and sanitization to be completed for high-touch areas (tanning beds, massage tables, salon chairs, etc.
  • Use appropriate temperatures for washers and dryers to ensure thorough sanitization of towels, linens, etc
  • Do not allow non-customer companions to accompany customer during a service
  • Do not allow group or communal settings for close contact personal services (e.g., couples’ massages, salt rooms, saunas, pools)

Consumer Protection
  • Services that require removing face coverings (e.g., beard shaving/trimming, facials, etc.) are not permitted in Phase 1
  • Do not offer any self-serve food or beverages. Temporarily close water fountains. Encourage users to provide their own water 
  • Prohibit congregating in break rooms, check-in counters
  • Customers should wear a cloth face covering at all times while in the premises (not N-95 or medical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers) and as recommended by the CDC and executive order of the governor. Use other personal protection items as recommended by the CDC
  • For massage, prone positions could be uncomfortable or dangerous for clients who are wearing face coverings. Accordingly, massage professionals may consider other appropriate precautions such as draping a client’s head and face cradle cover with a thin cotton pillowcase. Otherwise, a face covering should be worn during portions of treatment in which the client is not prone or facedown
  • Screen customers for illness upon their entry into the premises
SURVEY ASSISTANCE NEEDED
Governor Lee and his Economic Recovery Group (ERG) are requesting help from all businesses. Responses will be used to help the Governor and his team develop policies to help the business community and covers a number of areas from PPE procurement, current operations and employment practices. They are eager to hear from all businesses about challenges they are experiencing and how state government can possibly help. 

IMPORTANT TENNESSEE BUSINESS SURVEY: Commissioner Ezell is asking that each of you complete the survey below. This should only take a few minutes and will provide valuable insight to the ERG and their efforts to safely reopen our economy.  You can access the survey here.
REFUSAL TO WORK FORM
The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development has added a return to wo rk refusal form.

If an employer reopens for business, and requests an employee return to work, that employee must report to remain eligible for unemployment benefits. Federal law requires individuals who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to the COVID-19 health emergency return to work if called back.

If a Tennessee employer has an employee who refuses to return to work, that employer can notify the Department of Labor and Workforce Development by filling out the form found in the link below.

TENNESSEE PLEDGE TOOLKIT
Governor Lee is encouraging all businesses to access a downloadable Tennessee Pledge Toolkit, which includes:
  • Social media graphics along with sample social media copy and a request that businesses post photos of how they are implementing the TN Pledge guidelines
  • Variations of two posters – one for customer-facing front of house use and another for employee-facing back of house use. There is room at the bottom of white 8.5×11 and all 11×17 versions to add association and individual business logos.
  • TN Pledge logos for various uses
  • PSA copy and talking points with request for business owners and industry leaders to record videos and post photos
GUIDANCE FOR CLEANING
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance  to help facility operators and families properly clean and disinfect spaces. Developed in concert with the White House, the guidance provides step-by-step instructions for public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes, and falls in line with the  Opening up America Again guidelines .
Read More from the EPA .
NATIONAL PARK PHASE 1 REOPENING MAY 9
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is increasing recreational access and services. Beginning May 9, the park will reopen many roads and trails.

Park managers will examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored. Park managers will also continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for all users.

Park managers are implementing new safety measures in facility operations and services to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as areas reopen to the public. Campgrounds, picnic pavilions, visitor centers, and many secondary roads will remain closed during the first reopening phase, which is expected to last for at least two weeks.

While many areas will be accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding, and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

For the most up to date information about facility openings, service hours, and access, please visit the park website . Park rangers remain available to answer questions and help with trip planning via email or phone during business hours at (865) 436-1291, (828) 506-8620.
MARYVILLE JUNE FESTIVALS CANCELED
In response to the COVID-19 cononavirus outbreak, and in what the Blount Partnership sees is the best interest of its visitors, staff and community, the Summer on Broadway, Helen Ross McNabb Big BBQ Bash and Hops in the Hills festivals scheduled for June 19-20 in downtown Maryville are canceled. The events will not be rescheduled.
Resources will be devoted to resuming the events again June 25-26, 2021.

Hops in the Hills ticket holders will be refunded within the next two weeks.

“Even with the latest reopening guidelines put forth by the Governor’s office and the Center for Disease Control, along with the enormous logistical undertaking and short timeframe to produce the events we felt it was in the best interest of everyone involved from the planning committee to the vendors to the visitors to cancel this year’s events,” said Blount Partnership President/CEO Bryan Daniels. “We know this is a great summer event that will be missed, but the current environment is not conducive to holding large events where physical distancing is difficult. We continue to monitor all social gathering guidelines and will abide by these for our upcoming events in 2020.”

“The Blount Partnership is working with community leaders and businesses to develop a number of smaller summer activities that the public can enjoy. We encourage everyone to stay tuned for those events.”
UPCOMING 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.
LINKEDIN BEST PRACTICES
May 6 at 8:30 a.m.

Business connections matter now more than ever. Join the Blount Partnership and Epic Nine Marketing for our Best Practices in LinkedIn virtual workshop on May 6, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. to focus on how to highlight your portfolio, optimize your connections, and develop a sophisticated strategy to achieve results.  

Join Our Webinar Powered by Zoom Meeting
 
Attendees are asked to register in advance for this meeting.
 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO RECOVER
May 1 at 10:30 a.m.

Presented by  The Social Brand
The needs of our customers, how we connect with them and what our customers need has changed in a very short amount of time. But technology is on our side! Learn how to connect with your audience in authentic, human ways like never before. Learn how to use social media to recover from these changes and thrive in a time of turmoil.
SOFT SKILLS TRAINING WEBINAR
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  Empowering and Motivating Employees on May 29 . Empower employees and enable better performance. Learn strategies to help employees be the best they can be..

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.
We have compiled quick reference sheets for these SBA Loan options.
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
NEWEST SERVICES

Hart Graphics can print Tennessee Pledge signs that include window decals and posters. View sample .

Graphic Creations has an ample supply of personal protection supplies, including cloth masks.

Above the Rest Balloon & Event Design have DIY balloon projects for customers that will bring a smile to anyone. Watch this story from WBIR and then jet on over to its order page .
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 .

TELECOM ANALYSIS
For small businesses, we're happy to review your phone, internet, and cable bills for free! Our goal is to find the best service at the best price in your area. Contact Allevia Technology today to learn more.  

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.


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