3.13.20 COVID-19 Update
The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Chelan Douglas Health District hosted a conference call for member businesses on March 13 to discuss COVID-19 impact on local business. Listed below are key points for business leaders who could not participate in the call.
- As of March 13, there are no diagnosed cases of COVID-19 attributed to Chelan and Douglas County, several people have been tested and await results. Health District officials anticipate it is a matter of time before we have confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to those living in Chelan and Douglas Counties.
- Employees with COVID-19 symptoms, specifically a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher and a cough, need to stay home. Individuals exemplifying these symptoms are asked to call (509) 663-8711 to be screened for COVID-19. Employers are asked to make this information available to all their employees, and to inform them it is critically important they call the number above before going to the doctor to prevent the spread of infection.
- We all bear a social responsibility to take precautions. The more we get ahead of this virus, the more we will mitigate its potential impact. We know that the social distancing, event postponements and other decisions will impact businesses. The WVCC is working to understand the financial impact to our members and their employees. We will remain vigilant in our work with local, state, and federal leaders to advocate for resource that can help lessen the impact.
- The Governor declared a statewide closure of all schools on March 13, set to start on March 17 and lasting until April 24.
- The State has banned all events of 250 people or more.
With so much going on, people may well be asking “what can I do?” Consumers can do much to help our local business community during this uncertain time.
- Support local businesses and shop safely: If you feel uncomfortable dining out or shopping for non-essential items, consider buying gift cards to your favorite local shops, for later use. We have many great restaurants in the Valley that offer take-out. Please consider supporting local businesses by calling ahead and ordering items you can enjoy at home. Many local businesses offer online shopping as well. Call your favorite local businesses and ask if you can order online.
- Support local businesses on social media: It’s free to give a business a shout-out on social media, leave them a kind review, or support them through word-of-mouth. We hope to uplift all the businesses we can right now, and we could use your help!
- Remember to tip: If you can, tip generously. With layoffs, reduced hours, and slow sales looming, service workers need our support.
- Consumers should remember that while caution remains advisable and necessary, they must not panic. Don’t fear that that banana you touched at the store might have been touched and dropped by someone with COVID-19. Professor Matthew Moore, from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst said that COVID-19 is not a foodborne illness. It’s generally a respiratory illness. Wash your fruit well and wash your hands well and often.
- Do not panic at the thought of going into grocery stores or supermarkets. Wash your hands in accordance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, or use hand sanitizer. If you’re elderly or with health issues, services like Instacart, which may do your grocery shopping for you, are available in the Wenatchee area.
- Consumers should remain wary of scammers pitching supposed “cures” for COVID-19. As of March 13, no “vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure COVID-19" exist, according to the Federal Trade Commission website. Avoid internet links you don’t recognize and remain wary of people asking for donations. The FTC recommends that “if someone wants donations in cash, by gift card or by wiring money, don’t do it.”
- Consumers should avoid panic-buying. Be prudent with your purchases. Take complete stock of what you have at home, before you end up overbuying.
The Chelan Douglas Regional Port wrote an Op Ed for the Wenatchee World, issued 3/13/20. We hope our members take the time to read this piece. Please click here for the article.
The Chelan PUD released a Coronavirus message to the public on 3/12/20. We hope our members are able to read this piece as well. Please click here for the article.
JAYRAY, a branding, advertising and strategic communications company out of Tacoma released helpful tips to businesses. The WVCC staff feels these tips are great for our local businesses to consider and wanted to share them with you:
“Organizations are doing an excellent job getting the word out about cancellations in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. For many, it is time to shift into communicating about what happens now. As you hunker down to weather a potentially protracted crisis, keep in mind that the hunger for communication grows. Uncertainty takes a toll on employee morale, productivity and the bottom line.
Here’s what you can do:
- Get your news out there first. We all tend to retain what we hear first and too often we misremember speculation as truth. Dislodging misinformation is hard. Share your leave policy with employees. Contact customers and let them know how to conduct business with you. Emails, website banners, phone calls, text messages and even a sign on the front door can be powerfully reassuring.
- Do not repeat misinformation, even to refute it. A rumor repeated is a rumor given power. Instead, share what you know to be true and credit a reliable source.
- Mix frankness with empathy. Lead with the straight news. And especially when the news is bad, share it with compassion and humility. This outbreak is personal. Acknowledge the disruption and challenge.
- Communicate often. Employees need to hear from you more often when they are anxious and isolated, even if there is no new news. Repeat what you know, what you are doing, and how you’re preparing for what might happen.
- Be predictable. We can project reliability and a sense of control by sharing updates on a regular cadence shared in a way that customers and employees can count on. A newsy email every Wednesday, daily updates on your website, Q&A time on your standing staff agenda. Predictability bolsters trust and calm.”