5 Options for Business Owners to Overcome COVID-19

April 23, 2020 / Share:


During this time of crisis, it can be hard to know how to respond as a business owner. While some businesses are forced to close their doors and lay off staff, others are experiencing more business than ever, and lack the resources to meet the needs of a community facing a pandemic for the very first time. 

Here are just a few ways that Nashville business owners can connect with the community to support or be supported over the coming weeks.

1. Partner with the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Privately owned businesses can reach out to collaborate with the CDC to support research and development efforts, share perspectives about the on-going health crisis and share accurate information with their constituents. According to the CDC’s Guiding Principles for Public-Private Partnerships, these relationships extend far beyond financial support, and can also include the exchange of technology, expertise and audiences to help speed health innovation.

Businesses can apply to partner directly with the CDC here, or can partner with local CDC initiatives at health.nashville.gov, asafenashville.org, and covid19.nashville.gov. These sites also include answers to frequently asked questions and more details on “Safer at Home” orders issued by Nashville Mayor Jim Cooper and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee earlier this month. 

2. Educate employees to reduce strain on hospitals 

Business leaders should continue to work with employees to spread accurate information about COVID-19, in addition to maintaining clean working conditions, said Dr. Thomas Talbot, Chief Hospital Epidemiologist, Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Creating and communicating clear response plans for various scenarios — including an employee testing positive for the virus or coming into contact with someone who has — can be an effective way to keep the health of the business and employees front and center. Additionally, Talbot urged business owners to encourage workers to social distance, work at home as much as possible, and call the Metro COVID-19 hotline instead of hospitals with questions. 

For more information, employers can contact the Metro hotline at 615-862-7777 and the Tennessee state hotline at 833-556-2476 or 877-857-2945. For more resources, check out coronavirus.gov, vumc.org/coronavirus, and employersolutions.vanderbilthealth.com.

3. Donate to the Nashville Response Fund 

A partnership between the Mayor’s Office, United Way of Greater Nashville and the Response Committee, the Nashville Response Fund has collected over $3.6 million to community-based organizations who have applied for funding. 

So far, $820,000 has been distributed to organizations helping to alleviate the impact of coronavirus on high-risk communities, according to the Nashville Response Fund’s website; recipients include Conexion Americas, NeedLink Nashville, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities of Tennessee, the Martha O’Bryan Center, and RoofTop Nashville.

“It’s a very generous community and we’re going to do the best we can,” said Rob Mortensen, President and CEO of HospitalityTN and member of the Response Committee.

Those interested in making a charitable donation can do so here. 501(c)(3) nonprofits, faith-based organizations and other community-based organizations providing direct financial assistance relief can apply for resources here.

For more information, visit https://www.nashvilleresponsefund.com/.

4. Advocate for Dislocated Employees

Employers who are forced to lay off multiple workers can file a mass unemployment claim on behalf of their employees; this process is faster than employers approving individual claims filed by each employee. Once claims are filed, employees will file weekly certifications of their continued unemployment at jobs4TN.gov in order to continue receiving payment.

For displaced employees in the hospitality industry, relief is available through the Tennessee Talent Exchange, a program sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development. The Tennessee Talent exchange connects dislocated workers with job opportunities in expanding industries such as grocery and retail. Employees who are looking for opportunities can apply here.

5. Connect entrepreneurs with critical resources

Looking to give back directly to entrepreneurs who are continuing to work on their businesses despite the challenges of COVID-19? The Nashville Entrepreneur Center continues to provide opportunities for involvement to those who:

  • have experience in navigating business in a tumultuous time

  • are willing to mentor entrepreneurs as they work through new challenges

  • have access to tools and resources that would benefit growing businesses and 

  • want to enable others to reach their goals

Consider a donation and partner with us to deliver those tools to the businesses who need it most, and help Nashville’s entrepreneurial community come back stronger than ever. For more information on how to give and get involved, visit https://www.ec.co/coronavirus.

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