As Americans practice social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) across the U.S., Huntsville businesses are feeling the impact.
Chip Cherry, president and CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, said the COVID-19 outbreak is hitting Huntsville’s small businesses hard and creating a lot of uncertainty for larger companies, too.
The Chamber, in tandem with the City of Huntsville and other organizations, is exploring programs and services it can provide to help the entrepreneurial community during this difficult time.
“We’re trying to encourage people to find a new normal where they can still support companies but stay safe with this social separation,” Cherry said.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how businesses everywhere are responding to COVID-19. If you’re a local business owner seeking tips on how to survive this pandemic, read on.
Social distancing is one of the best ways to help limit exposure to anyone who may be a COVID-19 carrier. Although Governor Kay Ivey declared all restaurants must cease on-premise consumption of food and drink, a few options remain.
Using app-based delivery systems can help get brands to customers without them coming to the restaurant. Restaurants are also considering placing employees into delivery roles to help them keep hours and tips. Another tactic is to promote grab-and-go meals or takeout. Customers can submit their credit or debit card number over the phone, thus limiting the handling of cards or cash.
Many of the nation’s largest retailers are looking at cutting back operations or suspending in-store purchases to direct traffic online. While that works for companies with omnichannel marketing, it’s not something many small businesses can adopt on short notice.
Social media platforms can be a digital storefront. Customers can see products, order them via phone or online and pick them up curbside. In some cases, shops are offering free home delivery.
Customers can also buy gift cards to use later as another way of shopping local.
Employers (office, etc.)
Many employers have adopted a work-from-home strategy for staff as appropriate. Another tactic is to keep employees from congregating or meeting in large numbers. Consider doing online conferencing or teleconferencing.
Here’s a list of other helpful business resources to consider:
North Alabama Revolving Loan Fund
Catalyst BAM Microloan Program
Other Local Resources for Ideas & Training
Huntsville/Madison County Chamber
South Huntsville Main Business Association