As social distancing sends people into hiding amidst the effects of COVID-19, business owners, managers, and others have felt a greater need to come together to assess the situation. Fear, anxiety, and misinformation are prevalent and the business community needs to rally to endure the pandemic. At no time in recent memory has the Executive Forum of the Lehigh Valley been a more valuable resource.
As many as thirty-four members logged on at 7:30 AM on April 1st with a tight agenda including legal, financial, insurance, and HR updates. Each member was also provided time to share updates, questions, and other thoughts as it pertained to their businesses and their industries. The time allowed for members to understand the state of the economy directly from those impacted as well as to share best practices.
“I can’t stress enough to reach out and communicate with your banker,” says Sue McCann of Embassy Bank. The federal government has made financing and other relief options available through the Small Business Administrative but details are still developing.
Many businesses have laid off employees and others are surviving from working at home. All are getting creative about their operations, balancing assistance to clients and keeping employees engaged and paid. Employers reported that many workers feel uncomfortable going to job sites especially as those who are deemed essential businesses are increasingly becoming potentially infected areas. ServePro, a cleanup company, reported that they are actively cleaning and disinfecting affected business and home spaces, although not all the employees are willing to work those jobs with exposure.
On a personal note, many reported “socializing” and maintaining sanity through happy hours and other fun social events via Facetime and Skype calls. The silver lining in the meeting was the camaraderie of the group, the encouragement, and optimism. “If there was a time to join this group it is definitely now,” admitted Steve Mizerak. Denise Grothouse shared, “I am a spiritual person, and I confident that we will get through this.”