Both the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Lebanon, Lebanon’s Main Street organization, have been working to keep businesses up-to-date on the mandates to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re all in the same boat—it’s not just one industry, one business sector, one county or state. This is a global issue. We (The Chamber) have been pushing out tons of resource information,” said Karen Groh, Lebanon Valley Chamber president and CEO, “I’ve been sending an e-newsletter with updates once or twice a day. It’s hard to know which bits of information are important, so I’m sending whatever I have.”
Those e-newsletters are being sent not just to chamber members, but to any business or organization that subscribes to the chambers online information. “I know that sometimes it may go into someone’s Spam box, so I’m also posting the info on the Chamber’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages,” Groh said.
Like many other businesses and organization leaders, she said she’s learning how to do things online such the virtual meeting the chamber hosted online Friday afternoon, March 20. The meeting was open to anyone who wanted to join in. “Surprisingly the top question was about the virus itself. Another key question, and one we don’t really have a handle on is how long ‘non-life sustaining businesses’ must remain closed,” she said.
“All the business owners I’ve spoken with are intending to comply with Gov. Wolf’s mandates,” said Amy Kopecky, Downtown Lebanon Main Street manager.
Some businesses have employees working remotely. Kopecky said Gingrich Insurance staff is working remotely. They have remote hours and can be contacted. She said people can drop off payments at a drop box at the downtown Lebanon office and they will be collected. Iron Valley Real Estate’s Team Longenecker is also working remotely. Kopecky said agents are working individually and are available for video chat.
Restaurants have also made a shift in their business operations. Kopecky said restaurants such as Quesa Dee’as, La Placita de Lebanon and Downtown Lounge are offering take-out only. She said since Downtown Lounge has a liquor license, growler refills of beer on tap are now offered.
The Timeless Café is also one of the restaurants offering take-out only. “People count on us—we have a lot of ‘regulars’. “They’re getting take-outs now and are glad we’re open,” said Dwayne Spencer, The Timeless Café’s owner.
In a March 16 Facebook post he wrote “This is, by far, the most difficult challenge I’ve had to face in my 27 years of being in this business. However, we want to do our part to honor Governor Wolf’s mandate.”
He said the restaurant has made several shifts in its business operation starting off with reducing operating hours and paring down the menu. Although The Timeless Café mainly offers breakfast and lunch, it serves dinner on the third Saturday of the month. As luck would have it, that Saturday was March 21. “We’ve shifted that to take-out only and had a positive response from nearly every one of our reservations,” Spencer said.
Some restaurants are also offering take-out and delivery options. And, at this point, the Lebanon Farmers Market intends to be open for regular hours–Thursday and Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 7a.m. to 3 p.m.
Kopecky said that she is providing as much information to businesses as possible. She works closely with the Mayor’s office and with area legislators. “An important bit of information for business owners is the fact that the US Small Business Association is offering disaster loans: economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” she stressed.
She also noted that employees with questions about unemployment compensation should call their state representative’s office.
Is there a story you think LebTown should report? Let our newsroom know using the form below.
Help us provide journalism Lebanon County needs.
If you are thankful for LebTown, consider joining as a member. Members get an inside look at our publishing schedule each week, plus invites to a members-only Facebook group and happy hours.
Learn more and join now here.
Full Disclosure: The Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce is an advertiser on LebTown. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising status and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about LebTown’s advertising program here.