During this time in which we deal with the coronavirus, we are all pressed to consider alternative ways to effectively operate. Over the course of the next few weeks, the Athens Area Chamber will be focusing on these four issues:

1. Disseminating fact based information to our members about Covid-19 and ways in which local businesses can protect employees and customers.

2. Seeking avenues by which local businesses can minimize/mitigate the negative impact of health/economic climate. 

3. Speak as a voice for businesses in all local decisions as it relates to curbing/ceasing the spread of Covid-19 and seeking economic recovery as quickly as possible.

4. Note extraordinary volunteer needs in order to provide needed service to many directly impacted.

We will be using daily emails and social media (Instagram and Facebook) with this information. 

Three areas of needed support:

1. Clarke County School District will be providing meals to students every weekday for the foreseeable future. This will actually start on Tuesday, March 17. Estimated needs 45 people per day from 7:30-10:00am. To register, please here.

2. The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia is expected to realize a substantive increase of demand for their services. Please consider volunteering and/or a monetary donation to fill this critical need by clicking here.

3. Our Daily Bread Community Kitchen serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday for anyone who needs a meal. Annually this program provides more than 75,000 nutritious meals with gracious hospitality to men, women, and children in need and offers a gateway to other transformational services. A donation of $150 will provide breakfast to those in need. If interested please contact Chris Byrd @ cbyrd@downtownministries.org.

Thanks for your commitment to this great community. #WeGotThisAthens!

Important Word About Business Closings 

During this uniquely turbulent time, we want to make sure we are disseminating fact-based information. A question was presented today inquiring about the possibility of "forced" closings of Athens' bars and restaurants. In conversation with Mayor Kelly Girtz this morning he noted that, currently, they do not envision the legal capacity to mandate closings. It is believed that a mandate of that nature would come from the State of Georgia if it came at all but, at this time (12:45pm on Monday, 3/16) no mandate has been announced.    

The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and Northeast Georgia Business Alliance will provide a Covid-19 Conference Call on Tuesday, March 17 @ 8:00 a.m, for small business owners.  In this call we hope to provide current information from Mayor Kelly Girtz and County Manager Blaine Williams as it relates to any the local response to the Covid-19 virus outbreak and local business concerns. We expect the call to last 30 minutes. Please know that the call will not be directly interactive. If you have questions that you would like to have answered, please send those questions (before, during or after the call) to David Bradley at  david.bradley@athensga.com .

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For more information on joining the Chamber of Commerce, please visit www.athensga.com  or call the Chamber at (706) 549-6800.