Keeping businesses afloat in crisis


Tips for business owners, consumers to maintain a healthy local economy

On Tuesday, March 17, Governor Kate Brown ordered that all restaurants offer only carry-out, drive-thru and delivery services due to coronavirus concerns. As the week of what would have been spring break for Oregon schools approaches, other local businesses are facing a potential ghost town during a vital week for the coastal economy.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has offered a few resources for business owners during this precarious time. The SBA can assist in obtaining Economic Injury Disaster Loans, finding other lenders for small businesses and assist in continuing operations for small business contracting programs and small businesses with federal contracts. Additionally, the SBA provides guidelines for continuing business while taking COVID-19 precautions and information on potential issues that businesses may face. The nearest resource partner of the SBA is the Small Business Development Center in Lincoln City. More information from the SBA can be found online at sba.gov and the local Small Business Development Center can be contacted at 541-994-4166.

Workers are encouraged to stay home if they are sick, and the Centers for Disease control advise business owners to keep workers from coming back to work until they are free of fever.

As for consumers, continuing patronage if they feel safe doing so is a major way they can support small businesses. However, it’s not the only option. Purchasing gift certificates from businesses for future use supports the business immediately while keeping both workers and customers from having prolonged contact. Alternatively, for services that accept deposits — such as tattoo parlors — book future appointments and put down deposits to make a similar impact.

For groceries, consider using a pick-up or delivery service to avoid store crowds. Another option is to order food online. Last year, Amazon began accepting SNAP EBT benefits in select states, including Oregon, so those on food stamps can also utilize the service for groceries.

For more information about the coronavirus, including confirmed cases, recommended avoidance strategies and more, visit cdc.gov.

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