COVID-19 Update Letter: State “Reopening” Strategy & Business Support

State “Reopening” Strategy & Business Support

A note from GMC CEO & President, Michael Skelton

4/23/2020

Dear Chamber Members,

I was struck earlier this week by the realization that I and the Chamber team, like so many of you, are now in our 6th full week of working remotely due to the state-at-home and business closure emergency orders. In some ways, it feels as though these six weeks have gone by quickly as I can not believe how much time has passed. In other ways, the day to day often feels slow and draining, as we are all missing the creative, fun, and important opportunities to interact with one another that make each day unique.

While I am cautiously optimistic our situation as a state is stabilizing and improving, there are very likely to be several more weeks ahead like the past six. It is important we remain focused on doing our part on social distancing when in public, staying connected (virtually) with family and friends, and guiding our businesses and organizations day by day through this situation. These are the things that define our here and now, but what defines our future?

As we enter a new phase of this journey and start to consider what “re-opening” our economy and our communities should look like, a new source of energy for all of us can be considering these important questions about the future. How will our businesses, across all sectors, need to adapt their operations so clients and customers feel safe? How can meetings and events evolve to still serve as an important tool to connect us and be a vehicle to support causes and organizations we care about? There are many more questions like this that will need to be answered. While the answers will be complex and difficult, starting to shift our focus to planning, reinventing, reimagining brings new energy, excitement, and much needed change from the here and now that has consumed our attention for the past several weeks. Today’s update leads off with how these questions are starting to be answered at the state level:

State “Reopening” Strategy and Business Support Funding

On the heels of forming the Governor’s Office of Relief and Recovery (GOFERR), Governor Sununu this week announced the formation of the “Governor’s Economic Re-Opening Task Force.” While GOFERR focuses on disbursing $1.25 billion in funding from the federal CARES Act, the re-opening task force is tasked with developing and overseeing a plan to re-open the state economy while minimizing impacts on public health. The expectation is this strategy will be a phased approach that could vary by industry sector and geography of the state and will closely follow public health science and data to ensure any recommended actions do not undermine gains the state has made in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

The Chamber will continue to be actively engaged in these efforts with the Governor and our partners at the state on behalf of our members. With the GOFERR initiative, the Chamber plans to advocate that a significant portion of funding be allocated to creating and expanding business support programs (loans and grants) that can aid the recovery of small business community. On the re-opening taskforce, we plan to submit testimony and recommendations based on your feedback and input. In the coming days, we’ll be releasing a new member survey as a vehicle to communicate the collective needs of our business community to the state.

Paycheck Protection Program and Federal Update

Good news out of Congress this week as additional funding for the Paycheck Protection ProgramSBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, and several other priorities were included in a $500 billion package that passed the Senate. The measure is expected to be taken up by the House on Friday and signed by the President shortly thereafter.

Businesses that were shut out of the first funding round, or businesses interested in applying for the first time, should contact their lending partner and prepare to move quickly. The additional funding is expected to be fully allocated within a few days and the onus will be back on Congress to replenish funding in its “Phase 4” relief package that Congress is expected to start negotiating in the coming weeks.

Leaders Needed! Apply to LGM Class of 2020-2021

Perhaps like no time before, our community needs to engage, develop, and cultivate a new generation of leaders who can help support and guide our businesses and the community to recovery. There is no better opportunity to do that than through Leadership Greater Manchester. Applications are now open for selection to the Class of 2020 to 2021 and I would strongly encourage anyone interested in applying or recommending the program to a colleague.

Manchester Small Business Recovery Loan Program Update

The recently approved Manchester Small Business Recovery Loan Program is now in the process of developing and finalizing its application portal and material. The Chamber, City of Manchester, and Manchester Development Corporation are collaborating on this important program that will support small businesses as they prepare to open in the weeks ahead. To be added to the interest list for this program, please email recoveryloan@manchester-chamber.org.

Be well and stay healthy,

Mike

Mike Skelton, President & CEO, GMC