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 .
OPENING GUIDELINES SNAPSHOT
Here's a snapshot of Gov. Lee's opening 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 is for retailers .
May 1 is for fitness centers .

According to newly signed Executive Order 30 by Gov. Lee, the businesses listed in red below remain closed from April 29-May 29 at 12:59 a.m. ET. All others may open.

It is anticipated that in the near future development of additional guidelines will allow for reopening additional businesses safely.

Knox County and Knoxville City businesses must adhere to the Knox Government guidelines posted here .
GOV. LEE ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER 30
Gov. Lee issued Executive Order 30  supersedes and repeals Executive Order Nos. 17, 21, 22, 23, 27, and 29, effective Wednesday, April 29, but does not affect Executive Order No. 25 concerning dental and medical procedures, which is currently effective until April 30.

  • The order allows Tennesseans and businesses to return to work in all industries where that can be safely accomplished by following health guidelines, while urging employers to allow or require remote work/telework if possible.

  • Tennesseans are urged to continue limiting activity and staying home as much as possible to preserve and build on the health progress we’ve made.

  • All employers and businesses that choose to open are expected to comply with the Governor’s Economic Recovery Group (ERG) Guidelines for operating safely, as well as general health guidelines from the CDC and other government entities.

  • Social and recreational gatherings of 10 people or more are prohibited, including but not limited to festivals, fairs, parades, youth and adult sporting events, and overnight summer youth camps.

  • This does not cover places of worship, for which there will be guidelines for safe operation of worship services and gatherings if in-person services are conducted, but the order strongly encourages places of worship to continue virtual or online services where possible.

  • This does not prohibit weddings and funerals, but encourages postponement of large-gathering components of such events.

  • Entertainment and recreational gathering venues must remain closed to the public for now, including, but not limited to, bars, night clubs, live performance venues, bowling alleys, arcades, concert and sporting event venues, theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers, racetracks, indoor children’s play areas, adult entertainment venues, amusement parks, senior centers, and roller and ice skating rinks.

  • Limited service restaurants can serve food to customers seated at tables but must follow the ERG Guidelines for restaurants in doing so.

  • Close-contact personal service businesses must remain closed to the public for now, including, but not limited to, barber shops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons or spas, body-art/tattoo services, tanning salons, and massage-therapy establishments or massage facilities.

  • Nursing homes and similar retirement and long-term-care facilities must remain closed to visitors, except for critical assistance and in end-of-life situations.

  • Persons and businesses are urged to take special care to protect and provide for the well-being of vulnerable populations, including by offering delivery or special shopping hours if possible.

  • Persons with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms are required to stay at home, and employers may not require or allow employees with COVID-19 to work.

  • Persons are urged to wear a cloth face covering in places where in close proximity to others, especially where social distancing is difficult.

  • Take-out and delivery alcohol sales by restaurants will continue to be allowed to encourage customers to utilize take-out or delivery options.

  • Local orders regarding medical or dental procedures are prohibited because preserving PPE is a question that is statewide in scale and shouldn’t be addressed differently in each county.

  • For the 89 counties without a locally run county health department (all but Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan), this order supersedes any contrary orders or measures, meaning that the counties cannot issue independent orders regarding the opening, closure, or operation of businesses, organizations, or venues covered by this order, though counties may continue issuing or enforcing orders or measures on other matters related to COVID-19, such as opening or closure of their governmental buildings, governing their employees, or dealing with the operation of their local government.

  • The county health departments in the 6 counties with locally run county health departments (Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan) shall have authority to issue orders or measures that permit or restrict to a different degree than this order the opening, closure, or operation of businesses, organizations, or venues, except for places of worship. Otherwise, this order governs on the topics it covers.
FITNESS CENTERS TO OPEN FRIDAY
three_women_weights.jpg
Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group announced guidance for gyms and exercise facilities on how to reopen safely. Governor Lee is opening businesses in phases depending on how close contact is required for the profession. Governor Lee's Tennessee Pledge is recommendations on how to conduct businesses once they reopen. Gyms will be allowed to reopen in 89 of the state’s 95 counties beginning Friday, May 1. The counties excluded are those with locally-run health departments: Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan. 

In addition to strict adherence to CDC guidelines, the State recommends gyms, fitness/exercise facilities, or substantially similar facilities and activities put into place an assortment of measures to protect consumers and employees. The full guidelines are posted online  here .
ADDITIONAL PPP GUIDANCE
Additional guidance on the Paycheck Protection Plan has been provided by the SBA. In the second round, many gray areas have been clarified concerning how to calculate the PPP maximum loan amount. 

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.
COFFEE CLUB
April 30 at 8:30 a.m.

The Blount Chamber is hosting virtual coffee club on Thursday, April 30 at 8:30 a.m., sponsored by Misty Castiglia State Farm Insurance
 
For those who have never participated in an online meeting, here's some useful tips.
  • Please include your name and company name
  • Use the option to meet others in a small group setting by participating in our breakout rooms
  • Limited to 100 guests
 
Housekeeping Items:
  • Keep microphone muted when you aren’t speaking
  • Raise your hand (virtually) for a turn
  • Chat is available for questions
  • Look into the camera instead of looking at yourself talking on the screen 
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.
INTEGRATING EMPLOYEES BACK INTO BUSINESS
April 30 at 3 p.m.

 Integrating Your Employees Back into the Business presented by Express Strategic Services Integrating employees back into your business: COVID-19 has turned everything upside down. Are you a business owner that is wondering what the best practices are on integrating your employees back into the workplace? Hear some tips on the Who, What, When, Where and How in bringing back your employees.

Presenter: Keeli Boyce, Manager of Strategic Partnerships with Express Strategic Services
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.
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.
COVID-19 SOCIAL DISTANCING WEBINAR
April 29 at 1 p.m.

Presented by HRsimple
Executive orders are directing employers to establish social distancing procedures in workplaces that remain open. These directives can be confusing for many employers, and we want to help give you some guidance. Join us for a presentation about how to implement proper health and safety protocols and social distancing best practices in the workplace during COVID-19. Presenting "Social Distancing Best Practices" is Jean Back of Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt, who authors our Oregon Human Resources Manual. 
BUILDING RESILIENCE & HANDLING STRESS
April 29 at 9:15 a.m.

Presented by Dale Carnegie
Today’s environment is filled with setbacks and unexpected challenges. VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) is the new normal, and the impact of serious crises such as market shocks, governmental instability and pandemics can’t be ignored. For leaders who hope to accelerate performance and capitalize on change and uncertainty, creating a resilient organization that can successfully “bounce back” and grow from adverse experiences is critical. Few of us can change the environment in which we operate – but we can control how we prepare and respond to the events around us.
TRANSITIONING PROJECT TEAMS TO REMOTE ENVIRONMENTS
April 30 at 11 a.m.

Presented by Management Solutions
The webinar, "Transitioning Project Teams to Remote Environments," will provide managers and business leaders with key insights and best practices on how to transition to online environments and still remain productive and profitable. Topics include: 
  • Importance of communication with your team and how often
  • Technology capability and preparedness including securing your network
  • Reviewing current processes and proactively managing the changes
  • Mitigating negative effects on the organization and its people.
EFFECTIVELY MARKET IN CHALLENGING TIMES
April 30 at 9 am. & 1 p.m.

Presented by The Daily Times
Join us for a very informative review of how to successfully market and advertise your business and make sense of all the digital solutions vital to being competitive. Guest speaker Mike Martoccia is a strategic digital marketing leader who has helped over 30,000 small businesses.

Contact Joi Whaley at 865-981-1152 or joi.whaley@thedailytimes.com for webinar information.
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.


And follow tourism updates here:
NEWSLETTER SPONSORS