Like everyone else in the country, the Treasure Island & Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce is keeping watch on the news, trying to determine the most prudent course to chart in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this writing, with the CDC and WHO suggesting to gather in groups no larger than 10, we’re closing our main office at 12601 Gulf Blvd., and our kiosk at 113-1/2 107th Avenue, both on Treasure Island, until March 30. All events are suspended till then, too.
We’re cancelling our Friday Morning Market for the time being. We’ll let you know when that changes!
Safety in Numbers
Of course, we’re encouraging people to be diligent about washing their hands and keeping their hands away from the face. We suggest leaving a seat or two empty between you and the next person when you gather–in groups of fewer than 10 people, please! Instead of a handshake or fist bump, consider an elbow-tap. And wash your hands AGAIN!
For those businesses that can operate “in the cloud,” consider doing so. Remember that school closings and cancelled events are putting an additional strain on employees with families. If it’s possible for them to telecommute, this is a great time to find out how that can work for you, too.
Consider using services like Zoom, Go to Meeting, or Skype to hold virtual meetings. If you routinely pay for mileage, you may discover this helps you contain costs if your far-flung representatives don’t have to drive in.
If you do make a shift to doing more business online, you’ll want your employees to have access to the files they need. You want to make sure cyber security is strong at both ends.
Taking (Just Enough) Stock
While this next may seem like locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen: please don’t panic, and resist the urge to hoard. When you do go shopping to restock, you don’t need to clear the shelves. That not only forces your neighbors to waste resources driving greater distances to get simple items, but also makes shortages appear artificially urgent.
When you do find shelves empty of the items you’re looking for, please don’t take it out on the cashiers, stockers, or managers at the stores. They aren’t causing the shortages; shoppers who hoard are doing that. Barring a disruption of the highways and railways, shelves will be restocked.
Shop and Dine
We’re being told that smaller gatherings of people (fewer than 10) are, statistically speaking, not likely to increase your risk of exposure to COViD-19. While elderly or medically frail people need to be more careful, most of us can safely go shopping and dining out. It’s a good idea, because we want to keep our local businesses going. Small businesses drive our economy, and as travel restrictions keep people from bringing in tourist dollars, we need to rely on ourselves to make sure we’re still standing after COVID-19 is conquered.
Here are some links you’ll want to keep in mind:
CDC for employers and businesses: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fspecific-groups%2Fguidance-business-response.html
Florida Department of Health: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
Take proper precautions, stay positive about our ability to ride out this storm, and we’ll be fine.