Message to Our Businesses

We are working on your behalf in our community while working with officials during this COVID-19 pandemic. The goal for our Chamber is to ensure the information we share is accurate, informative and researched. The goal for our members and businesses is to ensure the safety and well-being of your employees, customers and volunteers. The goal for our community is to continue to support local in ways that are safe and appropriate for you.

We are going through this together and need to count on each other to be calm, rational and considerate. Check on your neighbors and at-risk community members by calling on the phone or sending private messages via social media, instead of going in person.

The Chamber office is operational; however, we are only available by phone and email – we are not open to walk-in visitors. The office number is (541) 963-8588. Feel free to email Director@VisitUnionCounty.org or Info@VisitUnionCounty.org for information and resources – we will respond as soon as possible.
We can connect you with local, state and federal resources and officials and let them know what you need and advocate for you. Please let us know what you need or what questions you have at this time.

Center for Disease Control resources on COVID-19: http://bit.ly/3aPdtmY

Regards,
Suzannah Moore-Hemann
Executive Director

Business Resources

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
DATE:         March 13, 2020
CONTACT:  Christine Jarski, (541) 962-1307; cjarski@cityoflagrande.org
Message for Union County Businesses
La Grande, OR – In this time of uncertainty about COVID 19, we want our Union County Businesses to know that there are resources available to help you. In addition to the precautionary measures that we can all be taking as outlined by the Small Business Administration SBA Recommendations for Small Businesses, there are specific actions we need your help with including completing this survey that Built Oregon is conducting to determine the true impact of the outbreak.  Once this survey closes, the Built Oregon team will analyze, aggregate and make anonymous responses to produce a summary report, which will be shared with respondents and the general public. No identifiable information be it personal or business related, will be shared as part of this report.
Federal Assistance is available for businesses that have sustained an economic impact. The Small Business Administration has loans available SBA LOAN LINK.
SPECIFIC ACTIONS TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH CUSTOMERS
If your business is open, tell people
Post your plans and hours on your website prominently (include on your contact page, your home page, etc.) and post to social media. Update your Google My Business profile and send out an email newsletter including your status.
Share your efforts to keep people safe:
In addition to taking all prudent precautions like washing your hands, identify your protocol to keep your business clean and sanitary then communicate what you’re doing.
Again, post it prominently on your website, share it to social media, hang a flyer on your door or windows. This is also a chance to share the processes you’ve had in place all along.
Many people aren’t changing buying habits, focus on them:
This situation has revealed that many people are completely freaked out while others are somewhat less concerned and accept things must go on.
Don’t worry about convincing those who are on the fearful side that they’re mistaken, rather work to get the attention of those will are still planning to shop, go out to eat, etc. Focus on those who are receptive to your message and create an oasis for them to experience.
Your weaknesses may become a strength:
Do you have times that you’re quite slow with few customers? Now’s a great time to make that known, some people may be more likely to visit you when they know there won’t be a crowd.
You can go further by running specials on things that are perishable or introduce a product/offering of the day. This is something you can promote online to stimulate interest even if you don’t offer the ability to buy online.
It may be the right time to explore an e-commerce option for your business. You don’t need to offer every product online to start to move the needle, technically adding e-commerce can be surprisingly easy and affordable though you do need to navigate fulfillment from online shipping to in-store pickup.
Up the personal attention
Most local businesses can’t become e-commerce businesses but are there opportunities for you to provide personal shopper services? This may mean adding the option to do a video call with clients and a virtual store walk-through.
Perhaps this is a chance for your business to create a subscription service like the many monthly ‘boxes’ that are now available.
Other tips for businesses:
  • Stay in touch with customers by live streaming. Show what you are doing to stay in business and get excited about the strategies you’ve come up with to meet customer needs during this time.
  • Look into business interruption insurance
·       Restaurants – offer take-out and deliver to cars at the curb as an additional service
·       Yoga studios – offer video-conference sessions
·       Retail businesses – enhance online shopping experience, or creating one
  • Small businesses – intensify social media presence
  • Coffee shops who roast – set up a customer membership for “subscribe & save” delivery or pick-up of beans, get people to order for the next couple weeks
  • Small grocers – offer to receive online grocery lists and shop for their customers to pick-up products or deliver them
  • Breweries can keep offering trivia nights by live-streaming and using an app that polls people’s responses, customers are encouraged to drink their brews while participating or getting extra points for posting a picture of them and their brews at home.
There is a network of local economic development resources. Please contact us if you need help.
EOU Small Business Administration
 (541) 962-1532
Northeast Oregon Economic Development District
(541) 962-3598
Union County Chamber of Commerce
(541)-963-8588
City of La Grande Economic Development
(541) 962-1307
La Grande Main Street
(541) 963-1223
CHD Business COVID19 Support Call-In
In order to further support and provide weekly updates to business owners, CHD is scheduling weekly call-ins. If you are interested, please plan to login – and share this information with other business owners, operators and managers:
Call: 1-605-475-5900
Code: 7522881
From Eastern Oregon Regional Solutions
Eastern Oregon Community,
I hope you all are well. Thank you for all you are doing to help our neighbors and communities. I am encouraged by all of the acts of leadership and kindness I have witnessed as we implement an all-hands-on-deck approach. Please feel free to forward any feedback, thoughts or ideas to me so I can share with leadership.
We have been getting a lot of information requests from businesses on guidance and tools. We need your help in getting resources out to employers and businesses in Eastern Oregon.
We are continuing to work on what will be available to businesses as quickly as possible given the fast moving circumstances. The Oregon Employment Department and Business Oregon will keep the follow sites up-to-date:
  1. Updated information on guidance and tools for employees/employers are here: https://www.oregon.gov/employ/Pages/COVID-19.aspx [unemployment insurance and other on employment tool is toward the bottom] Good overview on unemployment insurance scenarios attached.
  2. Update guidance and information for businesses are available here:
  3. https://www.oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/
             i.      Specific financial tools: http://www.oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/COVID19-Resources.php
  1. Please also refer businesses to your local Small Business Development Center to help plan and work through tools as they become available.
  2. Our economic development districts NEOEDD (Baker, Union and Wallowa Counties) and GEODC (Gilliam, Wheeler, Morrow, Umatilla, Grant, Harney and Malheur counties) have great resources to help.
Additionally, I wanted to pass along the information below and attached related to the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program.
Businesses and non-profits need to fill out the attached form (note the instructions below) and forward to your local emergency managers. The local emergency manager can answer questions concerning the form and criteria. I can also receive and forward the forms.
Here is the EIDL program information recently with local emergency managers.
For your reference. This information was sent out to all the local emergency managers via Oregon Emergency Management last week.
The economic injury assistance program that Governor Brown may request from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is called the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. It can provide low-interest working capital loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations. Loans cannot be made to governmental entities, including Tribes. Further information can be found: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19
SBA declarations are done by county, and once declared, the assistance is made available in contiguous counties, even across state lines. For those of you receiving this who are not county employees, please work with your local emergency managers to gather the forms. The managers can also answer eligibility and other clarifying questions. The LEM will forward the forms to the Oregon Emergency Management agency. OEM is working the Governor’s Office on the disaster declaration step.
Attached find the SBA “ESTIMATED DISASTER ECONOMIC INJURY WORKSHEET FOR BUSINESSES.” Most of the form entries are obvious, but business owners completing the form should be advised that:
  • Despite the May 2010 form date on the bottom right corner of the Worksheet, it is the current version.
  • Worksheets need to be fully completed, with all questions answered regarding business revenues, whether there was any business interruption insurance, as well as the comments section. The comments section should indicate that the economic impacts are a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The SBA has determined that the incident start date is January 31, 2020; the end date can (and will) vary from one business to the next, and can be answered as “unknown” or “undetermined.”
  • The Worksheet is not an application for assistance.
  • Completing a Worksheet does not commit the business to later requesting the assistance, nor must a business complete a Worksheet in order to later request assistance. The Worksheets submitted merely give Governor Brown the evidence necessary to request an EIDL declaration from the U.S. SBA.
Please have the applicant email the form directly to your LEM.
In order to request the assistance, Governor Brown will need a minimum of five Worksheets statewide that make a good case for economic injury, and at least one for each county that wants to be included in the declaration request.
Please feel free to pass this information along to those I might have missed.
Let me know if you have any questions and as things change or update, I will work to keep you updated with the most accurate information. As you can imagine, things are changing and moving so fast right now so let’s all hang in there and continue to work together.
Thanks,
Courtney
Courtney Warner Crowell
Regional Solutions Coordinator, Eastern Oregon
Office of Governor Kate Brown
To keep updated with information regarding information for Covid -19 impact on our business community, we wanted to provide additional information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. We will also provide some additional general resource information.
The economic injury assistance program that Governor Brown may request from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is called the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. It can provide low interest working capital loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations. Loans cannot be made to governmental entities, including Tribes. Further information can be found: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19.
The SBA “ESTIMATED DISASTER ECONOMIC INJURY WORKSHEET FOR BUSINESSES.” can be found at this link. Most of the form entries are clear, but business owners completing the form should be advised that:
  • Despite the May 2010 form date on the bottom right corner of the Worksheet, it is the current version.
  • Worksheets need to be fully completed, with all questions answered regarding business revenues, whether there was any business interruption insurance, as well as the comments section. The comments section should indicate that the economic impacts are a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The SBA has determined that the incident start date is January 31, 2020; the end date can (and will) vary from one business to the next and can be answered as “unknown” or “undetermined.”
  • The Worksheet is not an application for assistance.
  • Completing a Worksheet does not commit the business to later requesting the assistance, nor must a business complete a Worksheet in order to later request assistance. The Worksheets submitted merely give Governor Brown the evidence necessary to request an EIDL declaration from the U.S. SBA.
SBA declarations are done by county, and once declared, the assistance is made available in contiguous counties, even across state lines. It is important to work with Local Emergency Managers (LEM) to gather the forms. The managers can also answer eligibility and other clarifying questions. The LEM will forward the forms to the Oregon Emergency Management (OEM) agency. OEM is working the Governor’s Office on the disaster declaration step. In order to request the assistance, Governor Brown will need a minimum of five Worksheets statewide that make a good case for economic injury, and at least one for each county that wants to be included in the declaration request.
General Resources
For general questions about the Coronavirus, please refer to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) or Center for Disease Control (CDC) websites. If you still have general questions, call 2-1-1.
Some of Oregon’s larger law firms are providing information for businesses and employers:
Healthcare Resources
As a service to our members and their families, below are resources to help navigate information as it becomes available. These are the sources of information that are updated timely.
1. Oregon Health Authority
     – oregon.go/oha
2. Center for Human Development

– Website for latest news including cases reported and/or tested:

https://www.chdinc.org/covid19

Current Union County Covid19 Cases: 0

Current Union County School or business closures due to Covid19 exposures: 0

3. Department of Human Services

– oregon.gov/dhs

– Seniors and People with Disabilities: Program APD (541)-963-7276; Program OPI (541) 963-3186

4. Local Larger Assisted Living Facilities/Skilled Nursing Facility – if you need to know if you can visit, please call and ask for their specific regulations.
     – Grande Ronde Retirement Residence: (541) 963-4700
     – Wildflower Lodge: (541) 359-1297
     – La Grande Post Acute Rehabilitation: (541) 963-8678
     – If you need further resources related to the care of our senior community, feel free to contact Sherry Haeger @ Heart ‘n Home: 541-624-5800
  • I am a resource for seniors in our community – the support program called C.A.R.E. PROGRAM – Heart N Home donates this service at no cost to those at high risk in Union County. (C.A.R.E. means Connecting Appropriate Resources and Education)
Most importantly, work with your doctor if you are concerned about the health of you and your family.
Sincerely,
Union County Chamber of Commerce