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APRIL | For Local Businesses, Local Support From Local Sources

After focusing on public health measures to stem the spread of COVID-19, local officials are now turning their attention to the other critical issue from the virus: business disruption.

For weeks now, businesses have scrambled to familiarize themselves with state and federal programs designed to blunt the impact—PPP, Disaster Injury Relief Fund, Massachusetts Unemployment for employees and, this week, unemployment relief for independent contractors.  The actual payouts have started, albeit slowly.  

The pandemic is hitting businesses with uncertainty, said Ken Riehl, CEO of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses, especially those with few networks of support, need help, they turn to their local government representatives, they turn to their local banks, and they turn to the Chamber.  

Last week, Riehl’s team organized a video conference for businesses to simply come together and share. 

The call was attended by about 50 businesses and town officials, and despite the officials on hand, the session had the loose feeling of business owners simply orienting to life right now, reengaging with familiar friends and meeting new people.