Over the past few weeks, it’s become clear that the world is facing an unprecedented challenge with the coronavirus pandemic. Like you, we are deeply concerned and want to do what we can to help keep our community and our members safe and healthy.
On behalf of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber staff and Board of Directors, we wanted to send a personal note to you to let you know how we are responding to the situation.
Personal Health – First and foremost is your safety and the safety of our community. Although no cases of coronavirus have been confirmed amongst our members, we are all aware of reported cases in our county. Following the state of emergency declared by Gov. Larry Hogan the Chamber has decided to:
- postpone all networking events from March 16-31
- host committee meetings via conference call
This was a difficult decision, but we feel we have a responsibility to proceed with caution and avoid any possibility of community transmission of COVID19. We will continue to monitor the crisis and begin our networking events as soon as prudently possible.
Financial Well-being – We are very much aware of the financial burden this pandemic has placed on the business community. We are in constant communication with our county, state, and federal legislators, all of whom have expressed interest and concern for your economic sustainability through this crisis. We will continue to work with the various branches of government to establish policies to help our members through any financial hardship that may come your way. We are also paying close attention to policies and financial support for your individual employees. To that end, we need to hear from you.
- Let me know how are doing, what your concerns might be, and what support would be most beneficial to you at this point in time. Contact me at email@example.com; 301-840-1400.
We recognize this is a challenging time for all, and we remain deeply committed to our members, staff, and community. Our members are the heart of the chamber. We’re here for you!
Marilyn Balcombe, President and CEO
Potential Resources: Our friends at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce have sent out a great list of resources that might be of interest:
- The U.S. Department of Labor has developed some guidelines for how companies can prepare their workplace for COVID-19. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a COVID-19 website with information specifically for workers and employers. There is also information on issues relating to wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act available here.
- If a business experiences a temporary or permanent layoff, Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance’s Bulk Claim Services can open unemployment insurance claims for all affected employees. Businesses should contact a Claims Representative by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (410) 767-3252.
- The Maryland Insurance Administration has also put together an FAQ addressing insurance-related questions about coronavirus.
- I encourage you to regularly visit the Maryland Department of Health for the latest information on coronavirus and the state’s response to the outbreak.
- President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide low-interest loans to companies affected by the outbreak, and that he will ask Congress to increase funding for the SBA lending program to $50 billion.
The Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Labor and Industry enforces the Maryland Health Working Families Act, also known as safe and sick leave, which may be useful for employees who need to take off from work due to COVID-19. To learn more about the law, email email@example.com or call (410) 767-3252