ML chamber wants local businesses to take COVID survey

by Charles H. Featherstone
Staff Writer | March 24, 2020 11:49 PM

MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Grant County Economic Development Council are looking for ways to help small businesses hard hit by closures related to COVID-19.

“It’s all across the board,” said chamber President Debbie Doran-Martinez. “We’re seeing quite a few closures. Other (businesses) are operating remotely, some have shrunk staff, and some are locked, you need to call and tell them what you need.”

“A lot of that is going on,” she said.

So the chamber and the EDC have gotten together to create a single webpage to provide business owners with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health on the COVID-19 outbreak, resources for laid-off workers and links to Small Business Administration loans and assistance for business owners.

Both organizations are also asking business owners to fill out a short, online survey on how their business has been affected by the outbreak and how they are responding.

“The biggest thing we need is for businesses to fill out the survey,” Doran-Martinez said.

Data collected by the survey will be used to find the best way to help small businesses with grants that may be available locally in the near future, she said.

On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee ordered all non-essential businesses closed and all Washingtonians not employed in essential positions to shelter in place for at least two weeks, forcing a number of retail establishments and other “non-essential” businesses to close.

Doran-Martinez said the chamber of commerce is also opening up its website to allow business owners who can’t currently sell gift cards online to sell them through the chamber’s website. The service will even be available to non-members, Doran-Martinez said, as a way of helping businesses that have been ordered closed to generate a little extra cash.

“As we hunker down, trying not to be out and about, this will help businesses with cash flow,” she said.

“We are an amazing community,” Doran-Martinez added. “No doubt we will be resilient and come out better than ever, but hunkering down will be tough. I hope it’s shorter rather than longer.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.