As COVID-19 continues its spread, we are already starting to see the large impact it will have on our community and small businesses. These are unprecedented and unpredictable times, but we’re here for you. We’re here to help brainstorm on solutions to preserve your business. The small business community is stronger when we work together.

Times like this provide an opportunity for all of us to be there for one another, and to remain calm in a time of uncertainty. We will make every attempt to share with you a variety of pertinent resources as we learn of them. The DBA staff will be operating a flexible work policy to provide information and resources to our members and the general business community, with some days at the office, and some days working from home. Please continue to reach out to us, preferably through email, but we have capabilities to check our voicemail remotely as well. We will do everything we can to navigate this time of uncertainty together. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.

Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered the statewide closure of all non-essential and non-life-sustaining businesses, including stores, bars and restaurants (except for takeout and delivery service). The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) issued guidelines on what are considered essential and non-essential businesses. Non-essential businesses include community and recreation centers; gyms & fitness facilities; hair salons, nail salons and spas; casinos; concert venues; theaters; bars; sporting event venues and golf courses; retail facilities, including shopping malls and except for pharmacy or other health care facilities within retail operations. He expected the order would be in effect for two weeks.

DCED offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to dced.pa.gov/resources as they become available. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in addition to local funding partners, may also be a source of assistance for affected businesses. Pennsylvania workers impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Unemployment compensation claims should be submitted online for faster processing. Currently, we’re waiting for the Senate to pass an Emergency Coronavirus Bill package.

Please complete the Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet today. If we have one from at least one business in each county, it allows Pennsylvania to access SBA funds more quickly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Email your responses to Jennifer Wakeman at jwakeman@driveindustry.com. By completing the worksheet, you are not applying for any type of funding … just providing information to the governor.

To the community-at-large: While you are not able to dine out at the moment, perhaps you could order takeout, purchase a gift certificate online or via the phone to use later at your favorite restaurant, pub/brewpub, or retail establishment, pre-purchase future birthday or holiday gifts now in anticipation of a later need – whatever you can do to minimize this hardship to our local business community.

We are thankful for our community of member businesses and individuals, and we are committed to being here for you. Thank you for your continued support and we wish all of you a healthy few weeks ahead.

Rebecca Dressler is executive director of the Danville Business Alliance.

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