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Chamber Members,

Over the last few weeks as Covid-19 has become the primary topic of discussion in our businesses, our homes and in general conversation I thought about what our role in this should be. I thought about whether we should be a source of updated information but soon realized there are other agencies and organizations that are also sharing updates so there is nothing else we can offer of value. So what can YOUR Chamber of Commerce do in order to help our community get through this and be even better afterward?

Yesterday morning I participated in a conference call with Ted Pitts of the SC Chamber of Commerce, Governor Henry McMaster, Dr. Linda Bell with DHEC, Superintendent Molly Spearman, Chuck Bundy from Commerce, Dan Elzey from Dept of Workforce and Lou Kennedy from Nehpron Pharmaceuticals. By now you all know the Governor’s decision to limit all restaurants to carry / take out until further notice. I doubt there is much I can share from that conference call that is going to be new to the majority. I have attached those talking points for you to view, if you need additional information. Our community partners are doing everything they can to help update and educate us on what is going on and how we can prepare ourselves. The one thing that we can do that no one else can is to advocate and communicate the needs of our business community so that we all get through this and come out better in the end.

Earlier today we launched a Facebook page that will allow our area restaurants to share their take out menus to the public and it has exploded with followers in just a few hours. The page is titled “Sumter County Takeout and Delivery Options” so be sure to like and follow the page for great meal options, even if you have to take it home or back to your place of work. There are also other businesses that are not closed that desperately need our help. Many of our locally owned businesses are not regulated by the state so their decision to remain open or close is to their discretion. Those that have decided to remain open are continuing to serve our community to continue some type of normalcy. They are taking the proper steps to ensure that their environment is clean so that you can feel safe while patronizing their business. Keep in mind, always use hand sanitizer regardless of where you have been or who you have been in contact with, it is merely a safe practice.

Remember all the businesses that we as a community have asked for contributions and donations to our charities, organizations and clubs? They are now asking us for a favor and we MUST answer that call! That is our role during this time, doing whatever we can to let everyone know our businesses are still open even if only by take out or curb side service. These people are our families, our co-workers and our friends. Let’s take care of each other as a community!

Have a great day,

Chris Hardy, CCE, IOM
President & CEO

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