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 .
GOV. LEE ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR REOPENING RESTAURANTS, RETAIL
Gov. Bill Lee issued the first steps from the “Tennessee Pledge,” the state’s rollout of guidance and best practices for Tennessee businesses in 89 of the state’s 95 counties to keep employees and customers safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The first industries to receive guidance through the plan include the restaurant and retail industries.
 
Lee announced Tennessee restaurants are able to reopen Monday at 50 percent occupancy. Additionally, Tennessee retailers are able to reopen on Wednesday at 50 percent occupancy. The state recommends that employees in both industries wear cloth face coverings and that business owners follow federal guidelines for hygiene and workplace sanitation standards related to the pandemic. Read more .

Next week, plans to announce the reopening of salons, gyms, hospitals and churches will be available.

FOR KNOX COUNTY & CITY BUSINESSES
Knox County will continue operating under Governor Bill Lee’s Safer at Home Order through April 30. The joint City/County Task Force—convened by the Knox County Health Department—has advised Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and City of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon that it is still working on a local plan to ensure some area businesses can successfully open on Friday, May 1.

No further comments will be made regarding plans for reopening or guidelines for businesses until 10 a.m. on Monday, April 27 when the two mayors host a joint press conference in the City/County Building Main Assembly Room.
GET MATCHED TO A PPP LENDER QUICKLY
Supported by the Small Business Administration, Nav launched a digital  tool to instantly connect business owners with lenders that are taking SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications   for funds available to small business owners under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

The QuickConnect tool, which takes only a few minutes to complete, instantly and freely matches business owners to one of Nav’s PPP lending partners that are taking applications.
If you haven't applied, complete your PPP paperwork this weekend and be ready when the SBA loan portal opens at 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 27.

REQUIRED PPP APPLICATION DOCUMENTS
1. Basic information about your business and how to contact you
2. Average monthly payroll costs
Here’s a guide on what may classify as payroll expenses:
  • Payroll costs include: employee salary, wages and commissions; payment of cash tips; payment of vacation; parental, family, medical or sick leave; allowance for dismissal or separation; payment required for group health benefits (including insurance premiums); payment of retirement benefits; or payment of state or local tax assessed on employee compensation; and for sole proprietors or independent contractors, income or compensation not in excess of $100,000 per employee.
  • Payroll costs exclude: compensation of an individual person in excess of $100,000 (when annualized); compensation to an employee whose principal residence is outside of the U.S.; qualified sick leave for which a credit is allowed under Section 7001 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act; and qualified family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under Section 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • Show your work. The borrower must “show their work” on how they calculated the requested loan amount, and retain the supporting documentation used to get to that figure.
3. Details of full-time employees and their payroll costs
  • Include names and monthly eligible compensation. 
  • Annual salaries should be prorated for the month.
  • If annual cash compensation (e.g., salary, commission, etc.) exceeds $100,000, monthly proration should be based on $100,000.
4. 2019 Tax Forms (all four quarters of 2019, and Q1 ’20 if available)
Provide copies of any documents you may have available, including:
  • Form 941
  • Form 944
  • 1099s
  • Payroll processor records
5. Proof of mortgage or rent, mortgage interest, and utility expenses
While this may not be necessary for the loan, this will help with calculating how much of the loan proceeds could be forgiven for the 8-week period following loan disbursement.
6. Articles of Incorporation / Organization (must have the established date)
7. Verification of all owners of over 20%, as documented by:
  • 2019 Schedule K-1s (required for S corporations); OR 
  • 2018 Schedule K-1s with a statement explaining how/if 2019 ownership is different; OR 
  • 2019 Form 1065 (U.S. Return of Partnership Income) if incorporated as a partnership.
  • For single-member LLCs, ownership is verified in personal 1040 Tax Return Schedule C; OR
  • Bylaws or Operating Agreement that explicitly state current ownership percentages;
8. Copies of a government-issued ID for all individuals owning 20% or more of the business
Each  20%+ owner  must be accounted for when responding to required certifications in the PPP application form. Along with each owner’s TIN, EIN or SSN, lenders may also require a government-issued ID such as a state-issued Driver’s License. For alternative forms of ID, see the  NCIS list of acceptable List A and List B documents  (not List C).
9. Email addresses for all individuals owning 20% or more of the business
10. Proof of Active and Good Standing status of the business
Provide a screenshot or pdf file of the Secretary of State website showing your entity is both Active AND in Good Standing. Note: Sole Proprietorships or General Partnerships (whether you have a DBA or not) may not need to register with the state, so the state cannot issue you a certificate of good standing.
11. Completed form
12. Electronic funds transfer information
MEMBER RESOURCES
Here's some new member resources you may find useful.

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 .
STEP UP AS WE STAY IN
The Maryville Downtown Association's Promotions Committee is working to promote Downtown businesses. Through a partnership with VisualVoice , the Promotions Committee launched a new "Step Up as we Stay In" campaign on its digital assets. This campaign features one Downtown business at a time, and highlights current promotions (store hours, curbside pickup, online sales, sales, etc.) of that business.  

Give them a follow:

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.
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.
LEADING CHANGE  
April 28 at 8:15 a.m.

Presented by Dale Carnegie
The world is changing at an unprecedented pace; nothing is static, certain, or predictable. Many business leaders are struggling to adjust to this new normal. We know that change is often uncomfortable; it can be awkward, distracting, even stressful sometimes. If business leaders are struggling to adapt and lead effectively, consider the trickle-down effect this will have on the company employees. That’s why organizations need leaders who embrace change themselves, and who have the right mindset, skills and capabilities to get others onboard with important change initiatives.
MOVING FORWARD: YOUR BIZ AFTER COVID-19 
April 28 at 10 a.m.

Presented by SBA
What will our new normal look like? No one knows the answer. Join us to learn what you can do to stay in compliance with the Department of Labor. Also, gain insight into how communicating with your employees, clients and vendors now can really affect your business in the future. Join this informal setting with Human Resources expert, Beverly Clemons, President and Owner of CMI Consulting, as we talk about business after COVID-19.
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.
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 .
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.
BLOOD DRIVE CONTINUES THROUGH MAY 8
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) until 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.
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
TODAY'S NEW SERVICE
Allevia Technology Offers Free 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 us today to learn more.  
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:
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