The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) have formed the Champaign County Economic Recovery Task Force to help local businesses recover from COVID-19 shutdowns.
The task force is composed of Chamber and CEP board members and other community leaders representing retail stores, restaurants, manufacturing, education, agriculture, banking, and city, village and county government.
In initial meetings the task force created subcommittees to focus on specific initiatives, Chamber Executive Director Sara Neer said. These include Urbana University, Fundraising, Personal Protective Equipment, Marketing, and Training and Support.
The Training and Support subcommittee, Neer said, is planning webinars with guest speakers, who will share industry-specific regulations and best practices for operating in the pandemic. The online sessions will be scheduled for restaurants and food service, retail, manufacturing, beauty and barber shops, and health and fitness.
Task Force objectives include:
· Support local businesses impacted by the pandemic
· Ensure that the local economy rebounds from the pandemic as quickly as possible
· Connect local businesses to government
· Establish a unified voice to advocate in the community’s best interests
· Ensure consumer confidence in local businesses as they reopen “We want people to have confidence that they are safe when they visit and shop or dine at Champaign County businesses,” CEP Director Marcia Bailey said. “Our local businesses are taking every precaution and are looking forward to having their businesses reopened and serving their customers.”
Neer said that the Chamber will conduct a second Support Local apparel fundraiser. In the first, buyers designated businesses to receive a portion of each sale. In the second, money will be raised to support recovery efforts, Neer said.
In addition, the CEP has conducted a survey to determine the needs of businesses impacted by the pandemic and established, with the help of Champaign County commissioners, the COVID-19 Champaign County Small Business Emergency Grant Fund, which recently presented a total of $54,265.15 to 24 businesses.