The Mills County Economic Development Foundation (MCEDF) is closely monitoring the changing developments of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and its impact on the county, our communities, businesses, and region. Following the example set by major national events, we are canceling, postponing, or exploring virtual options for meetings and events from now through April 17, and will re-evaluate at that time. Meetings and events that cannot be rescheduled or held virtually will be canceled during this time frame.
The MECDF advise all employers to be ready to implement strategies to protect their organization and their employees from COVID-19. The implementation of proactive plans will ensure business continuity and overall public safety. These steps are preemptive and will assist in mitigating risk as you continue business activities.
Please feel free to consider the following advice and resources as you prepare for and experience the impacts of COVID-19:
Planning and Preparedness
- Review your emergency and/or hazard mitigation plans.
- Review plans and contingencies within management and your staff. These may include the need to work remotely, flex hours, and consideration of temporary business closure.
- Review Iowa Department of Public Health’s workplace considerations
- Consider flexible policies for those that have absences due to their own illness or their family members.
- Consider those parents impacted by closure of schools and child care facilities. This may require flexibility and work from home strategies.
- Read through and access resources via the Mills County Public Health Department at https://www.millscoia.us/index.php/covid19
- Visit the International Economic Development Association at www.iedconline.org
- Visit the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives crisis management resource center and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce resources and guidelines for business
- Find information on how to access essential services through the United Way's 211 program.
While the risk to Mills County citizens and businesses remains relatively low, Iowa and neighboring Nebraska are experiencing steady increases. This is an ever changing situation so we encourage you to dedicate time now to firm up your business continuity plans and put needed pieces in motion. Assuming you have already taken the steps outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some additional tips:
- Review your supply chain and analyze potential impact and alternatives for supplies.
- Review finances, work on contingencies of how to manage finances should business begin to slow, talk with your banker about options that you can tap into should the need arise. The Iowa Bankers Association has resources at www.iowabankers.com
- Talk with your business insurance provider to understand how COVID-19 impacts your business and your employees.
If your business is negatively impacted by COVID-19, we highly encourage you to document your losses. If the COVID-19 situation escalates, disaster declarations could be made that trigger the availability of federal and state assistance for small businesses. https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/Index
- Complete frequent and deeper cleaning of the office and home. Most Clorox, Lysol and Purell products should fit the bill. A full list of product that can be used during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is here: https://www.americanchemistry.com/Novel-Coronavirus-Fighting-Products-List.pdf
- Keep communicating with your customers, and stay active on social media. Let your customers know that you are open for business, or remind them how you can help. Let them know what you are doing to protect their health as well.
- Keep communicating with your team as they are critical to your ongoing success. They need your leadership and certainty on the job and at home.
- Implement work strategies should team members need to work from home. There are a number of great tools available that can maximize productivity, and cloud storage like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive are increasingly cost effective.
- The use of Facetime and tools such as GoToMeeting, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype are valuable to conduct virtual meetings and employee training. You can still get the work done, and it may actually save time and money.
- Public facing businesses can protect both your customer base and your employees by leveraging technology and offering easy pick-up or delivery options.
- How will you handle travel? Many businesses and public agencies are limiting travel.
- Now, more than ever, small businesses need your support. The Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce www.glenwoodia.com and Malvern Area Betterment Association www.malvernia.com are great places to start.
- If you are doing business with a local provider and your needs have changed, do your best to postpone the work and not cancel it.
- City of Malvern www.malvernia.com
- City of Emerson www.emersonia.org
- City of Glenwood www.cityofglenwood.org
- City of Tabor www.taboria.us
- City of Pacific Junction 712-622-8157
- City of Silver City 712-525-1090
- City of Hastings 712-624-9021
- City of Henderson 712-825-5151
- Mills County www.millscoia.us
We realize that the uptick in cancellations may feel alarming. Remember that these are all strategies to stop the spread as lesson the economic and social impacts. Stay informed and look for information from reliable and trusted sources, including:
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH)
- Mills County Health Department https://www.millscoia.us/index.php/depts/phn
While out and about in Mills County, the Greater Omaha Metropolitan Region, or Southwest Iowa, your focus to prevent the spread of disease will help keep our region safe. Here are a few ways you can help:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If employees feel sick, encourage them to stay home.
- If you haven't yet, please consider getting a flu shot.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 – 95% alcohol.
- Cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, and then wash your hands immediately afterwards.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, computers, phones, break rooms, and work desks.
Iowa Business Recovery Assistance
Due to the economic impact of COVID-19 closures and postponements, we are gathering resources and information that may be of use to our partners across the state. Read the Governor's Public Health Emergency Proclamation.
COVID-19 IMPACT SURVEY
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) needs to assess the impact of the pandemic in Iowa. To assist in these efforts, please complete this survey, developed by University of Northern Iowa – Institute for Decision Making, to tell us what your business is experiencing and how your business is handling the current crisis.
Please forward this link to businesses/attractions/organizations within your membership or communities.
IEDA will use the information collected in this survey to inform its public policy in response to the crisis, as well as potential assistance to businesses. The deadline to complete this survey is Monday, March 23 at 5 p.m.
SBA DISASTER LOAN ASSISTANCE
As part of the Trump Administration’s effort to combat COVID-19, the U.S. Small Business Administration issued revised criteria for states or territories seeking economic injury declaration. Because of these revisions, we believe we have sufficient worksheets to seek the declaration and will not need additional injury worksheets at this time.
We will continue to be in contact if we need any additional resources.
ADDITONAL RESOURCES & INFORMATION
U.S. Small Business Administration
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Iowa Department of Public Health
Iowa Utilities Board
Iowa Workforce Development
- Assistance for employees and employers affected by COVID-19 related layoffs
- Latest information on the state’s workforce department response to the national emergency
Iowa Small Business Development Center
Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives