Minnesota Chamber President's Column / Chambers are advocating for employers, workers through this crisis
Every employer and employee feels the historic impact of COVID-19. Those of us in the network of state and local chambers thank employers and employees throughout Minnesota for navigating this crisis to mitigate the health impacts and to keep our state moving forward. If you are a business currently struggling or confused about the resources available, reach out to us. We can help, whether you are a chamber member or not.
Businesses are innovating and leveraging available resources. Minnesota is blessed with a landscape of innovative companies and skilled workers. Employers and employees are continuing to find ways to work safely, keep essential operations open, meet customer demands, and protect critical supply chains. Most impressive, companies are showing their ingenuity to transform operations almost overnight to supply products and services critical to bringing this pandemic under control.
Chambers of commerce share the goal of ensuring a healthy business community and economy. The stakes are higher today, and our efforts are escalated as we fight this pandemic. We are working tirelessly for our members — and everyone in the business community — listening to their needs and responding in their best interest.
Chambers are bringing businesses together. Your local and state chambers work with businesses of every type, size, and industry and in every corner of the state. By listening to the needs of businesses, we are able to make connections between challenges and solutions — during this crisis and long afterward.
Chambers are advocating for employers and employees. Minnesotans’ health and safety are paramount concerns for all of us. We share the goal of our elected officials to reduce the spread of the virus and simultaneously protect the long-term strength of the private-sector economy. It’s a delicate balance, and we have worked with legislators and Gov. Tim Walz and his administration to make decisions with this balance in mind.
Chambers are speeding resources and assistance to keep communities thriving. Every company is impacted by the state and federal directives related to COVID-19. Those deemed essential are doing what they can to keep shelves stocked and meet customer demands. If required to close their physical doors, many are continuing remotely or pivoting operations. This was not their choice, but they are reviewing every funding option available to continue to make payroll or act in good faith on behalf of their employees to keep their businesses open while mitigating health impacts.
The twists and turns of the pandemic are changing daily. Your chambers of commerce provide timely and trusted information to navigate this crisis. We know businesses are looking for funding and resources to mitigate this crisis. Your state and local chambers are here to help navigate the various options and maximize the benefit for businesses and employees. Our offices may be closed due to the stay-at-home order, but we are only a phone call or email away.
Businesses contribute to our shared quality of life in Minnesota. Generations-owned family companies and new entrepreneurial start-ups are equally important parts of our state’s story. The remarkable response of employers and employees everywhere is evidence that Minnesotans are well-prepared to weather this pandemic storm. Working together, we will position Minnesota to return to full productivity and full employment as soon as possible.
Doug Loon is president of the St. Paul-based Minnesota Chamber of Commerce (mnchamber.com).