To the Editor:
The communities of Cape Ann have faced many challenges throughout the years, but nothing could prepare us for the disruption, uncertainties and health risks presented by the outbreak and spread of COVID-19.
While these are unprecedented times, Cape Ann is responding as we have in times of crisis in the past—by coming together and finding ways to help our community persevere. The Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce is proud to be part of this community-wide effort.
One might think at a time like this—when many businesses are not operating and there are no community gatherings—the Chamber’s value would be in question. Much to contrary. Our team was quick to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on Cape Ann, providing much-needed services to our members and the entire region. As an organization that serves all of Cape Ann, we offer a valuable focus, and we set out to bring together information essential to all four communities.
We immediately began regular email communications, providing updates on the status of businesses. Including details on the availability of services essential to the community.
Within days of launching this effort we introduced a COVID-19 page on the Chamber website (capeannchamber.com) to archive these updates and provide easy and straightforward access to resources to assist businesses and their customers.
While our physical offices closed along with many of the business we represent, our team has remained available by email and phone, offering guidance and the latest information relevant to our businesses. Several weeks ago, we reached out to all members with a detailed summary of government relief efforts. We also provided advice on managing cashflow and workflow, and how to address the needs of employees, customers, and the business owners themselves, and those close to them.
We have been very impressed by the business community’s response—by their interest in the greater good of Cape Ann and their openness to the direction we and others have offered.
We have all heard reports of communities that have not reacted in this way—who are endangering those around them, and quite possibility far greater numbers, by failing to act responsibly.
Cape Ann’s business, government leaders and people have fulfilled their responsibility—and more. Many believe—and we concur—that leaders are defined by how they conduct themselves in times of crisis. The same can be said for good citizens. In the case of Cape Ann, we are showing ourselves to be leaders and good citizens.
We are not done yet—we cannot let down our defenses, and as this situation subsides, as we believe it will, there will be much more work to do.
But based on Cape Ann’s history—and the response by our businesses and the community at large in the past several weeks—we should all be confident that we will not only recover from this crisis; we will emerge stronger, smarter and better prepared for challenges like this that lay ahead.
So, as difficult and foreboding as these times may seem, there is hope.
Let us not forget that we are all part of truly amazing community—a community of people, organizations and natural wonders. This foundation is an extraordinary asset, and this too will help us survive this crisis together. We will again see businesses open their doors; see people in our shops, galleries and museums; welcome children back to their schools; enjoy our beaches, harbors and parks; and gather for meetings, celebrations and festivals.
A final note we shared with our Chamber members in a recent updåate: be safe, and, in the inimitable words of Winston Churchill, keep calm and carry on.
And remember, the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce is here to work with you and to help in any way we can.
President, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce