In the past two weeks, a lot has changed for our state and our nation. COVID-19, the viral infection caused by the coronavirus, is here. With more than 300 cases and confirmed community spread, it’s essential that we are all diligent in proactively protecting community health.

As COVID-19 has progressed in Arizona, I’ve been meeting with government leaders and community organizers to fully understand how the business community can meaningfully contribute to flattening the curve and limiting the spread of the disease, while still conducting business and keeping people employed.

With this in mind, we know that businesses need information and specific guidance during this time, so we have launched a comprehensive response website to help answer your business questions. You can access this resource site here.

Additionally, the Chamber, in collaboration with Wellness AtoZ, has created a resource page specific to the COVID-19 virus that is available to you here. We are sending weekly updates out to our members to ensure that the business community at large is informed and prepared. Yesterday, we launched LiveWell Now!, a weekly newsletter with tips for employees that are now working from home.

We are diligently working to connect many recently displaced workers with new, temporary positions that have been created in essential industries. We know that grocery stores, delivery companies, and health care providers are facing talent shortages as demands increase. Our team is working with key organizations, including the Arizona Commerce Authority, City of Phoenix, GPEC, Pipeline AZ, and the private sector to link platforms connecting individuals to opportunities and streamlining hiring for these organizations.

While working with our partners to address workforce needs, we are still hard at work advocating for our business community. Now more than ever, it’s vital that policymakers hear the voice of business. Our policy team remains highly engaged with the Legislature, Governor’s Office, and City Hall. We are focused on ensuring essential services are still being delivered, and relevant information is shared with the public.  My team and I have daily briefing calls with the Governor’s Office so chamber leaders can inform businesses with critical updates.

I know that every business and organization is facing many difficult decisions—decisions that will impact the economic health of your business and limit your ability to meet the demands of your customers and clients. I understand that none of this is easy. However, all of it is necessary.

Now, more than ever, we must band together and stand in unity in our decision that the health of our community must come first. This crisis has and will continue to test our flexibility and our ability to pivot to alternate plans. But, I know our business leaders and entrepreneurs are agile and innovative and can forge through any challenge. We are fortunate to have an industrious business community where our business owners and leaders find ways to stay open and stay safe. It’s important that we support those local, small businesses now, more than ever.

I urge you to remember this: our economy is strong, and once we’ve combatted the community health risks, we can focus on getting back to business.

Let’s all use this time to focus on what means the most—a healthy Arizona—and in a few weeks from now, let’s all hit the ground running to ensure that every part of our economy is back to business as normal.

Posted by Danny Imes