Early this morning, March 19, the Salida Business Alliance (SBA) hosted a conference call for their regular meeting to share information and discuss resources and information for business owners during the coronavirus pandemic known as COVID-19.
Salida Business Alliance President Angel Rowell started the meeting sharing the SBA’s mission statement and emphasized the importance of developing s strategy in strengthening the economy: “The Mission of the Salida Business Alliance is to work with businesses to attain a united approach in enhancing our business districts. This will strengthen our community and our economy.”
The SBA meeting provided updates about the upcoming Virtual Town Hall meeting with Chaffee County Public Health. The second virtual Town Hall meeting will start at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, March 20. The meeting can be accessed by logging into the COVID-19 Chaffee County Facebook page or going to the home Chaffee County Government home page and follow the online Zoom meeting instructions on the far right column of the home page.
The following links provide information and access to the virtual Town Hall meeting:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/COVID19ChaffeeCounty/
CCG Home page: www.chaffeecounty.org
Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/4328290633 (Meeting ID: 432 829 0633)
In addition to the Town Hall update, Central Mountain Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Central Director Jamie Billesbach provided information about Emergency Paid Leave Rule, Unemployment Insurance, Work-Share Program and Layoff/Separations.
She shared that small businesses can apply for a Small Business Disaster Loan from SBDC, with funds provided from the State of Colorado under direction of Governor Jared Polis. Billesbach said that her office wants to get paperwork ready now, because the SBDC believes that within the next day or two, applications will be able to begin processing.
“The resources are out there and they are coming out quickly. I think we are all trying to digest those resources,” said Billesbach. The resources Billesbach referenced can be found here at COVID-19 Business Support Pike’s Peak SBDC: https://pikespeaksbdc.org/what-we-do/programs/disaster-relief/
Good Business Colorado Chaffee County Organizer Corrinne Fowler also spoke to questions around unemployment. Fowler said that anyone looking to apply for unemployment, should apply immediately, because payment can take up to two weeks. In addition to small business resources, Fowler said, “[Good Business Colorado] will be passing along different support packages that the governor is looking at outside of small business support.”
Salida Mayor P.T. Wood was on the Thursday morning call to provide an update from the City of Salida. Wood shared that the City of Salida is working with Slate Communications to determine what type of support the community needs from the city to help determine ways to assist the community.
“We will be having a discussion starting today about deploying some city money to help folks in town,” said Wood. “We are not positive what type of support that will be yet. ” He shared that they are also hoping for a Challenge Grant to match contributions via the Chaffee County Community Foundation (CCCF), but nothing has been determined yet. He added that more information would be solidified regarding this topic following the meeting.
Wood explained that the City of Salida’s COVID-19 Action Plan remains at Tier III. While the Tier III response level doesn’t close the city parks, signs will be going up to discourage big groups. Wood explained that moving to Tier IV, which has not been decided on, would close all parks and public facilities.
“We are going to do our best to deploy as many resources as we can to help as many folks as we can,” said Wood.
Wood shared the city’s financial status and said that capital projects are planned to continue such as road repair and construction, especially continuing projects that are employing local contractors. “The city is financially healthy. We have enough money to run our operations for up to six months if no money came in,” said Wood.
Chaffee County Commissioner Keith Baker spoke of the County’s efforts, “We are trying to keep operations going as normal as possible. We still have to secure the ship so to speak.”
At the end of the meeting, Rowell returned to the overall arching question on the minds of small business owners: What other resources are small businesses going to need when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides? Rowell asked for those present in the conference call to share their ideas with SBA. Those with questions, ideas and input have been asked by the SBA to email SBASalida@gmail.com.
Another Facebook group has been formed and is encouraging to #ShopLocal on #SalidaSundays and to support small businesses. The page is called ‘Rediscover Salida’ and can be found by following this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rediscoversalida/