Chambers Offer Tips for Businesses in Coping with Pandemic

Business groups from around Santa Barbara County issued a joint statement March 13 in the wake of the county Public Health Department’s emergency declaration the prior evening because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Even though no coronavirus or COVID-19 cases were reported in Santa Barbara County as of March 12, public health officials issued an order calling for postponement of cancellation of gatherings of 250 people or more. 

Santa Barbara County schools will be closed by March 18 through the end of the month, officials announced March 13.   

“The health and safety of our employees, employers, and the larger community is our top priority,” read an email sent by the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region on behalf of chambers in Carpinteria, Goleta, Lompoc and Downtown Santa Barbara. “Toward that end, we are committed to making preparations for operational continuity plans, ensuring that remote work is an option for employees to the greatest extent possible, and reminding all members of our organizations and community of best practices with regard to health and safety.” 

The business groups suggested businesses keep track of what’s happening to them during this time. 

While the COVID-19 situation is still unfolding, we are recommending that all businesses and organizations carefully document impacts to your businesses caused by the outbreak,” the email read. “Documenting any losses from canceled events or decreased sales could assist in insurance claims or potential relief programs from government agencies.” 

Flexible alternative working arrangements were also suggested. 

“As an employer, if you have the opportunity to address work infrastructure to allow for employees to work remotely during this time, we recommend that you put together an action plan and be prepared should a public health emergency be declared,” the email read. “Action plans should include reviewing staffing to identify workers who could work from home, resulting in fewer people and less contact between people at the workplace.” 

The email said employees should speak to their employer about alternative work plans, such as telecommuting.

The Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce canceled or postponed all six of its events through April 3. 

To get more information, businesses should familiarize themselves with workplace recommendations from the U.S. Chamber of CommerceCalChamber and the State of California.

Posted March 13, 2020.

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