March 16, Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered all bars and restaurants in Iowa to close amid the prevention efforts of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. This is all to limit residents from interacting with each other, putting a cap on how quickly the illness can spread. Local businesses will be feeling the full force of this shutdown as most will have little, if any, business.
Plans to help residents and businesses have started to come together in the form of financial assistance. Karla Thompson, executive director of the Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce, laid out what may happen.
“We’re waiting for Iowa to be designated for small businesses in the state to apply for assistance in the form of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL),” an email for the Iowa Workforce Development said. “The rules require each state to demonstrate economic losses to SBA (Small Business Administration) before we can declare the counties within a state as eligible to apply for the loans.”
“There are also the Iowa unemployment benefits that employees can file if they get COVID-19, laid off due to loss of production or temporarily reduced hours due to COVID-19,” Thompson said.
The Dyersville Area Community Foundation COVID-19 Fund is being established on a local level for support as well.
“Many businesses have taken precautionary measures and altered the way they do business,” Thompson said. “Locals can still patronize local businesses by utilizing these additional efforts put in place by businesses, such as curbside pick-up or drop-at-the-door delivery.”
She added that residents can shop online at the stores or buy gift cards, and said that she is optimistic that this spread can be limited.
“This has affected a lot of businesses, employees and individuals,” Thompson said, “but with everyone working together and taking precautions, hopefully it will be a short duration.”
Healthcare professionals and agencies have been providing updates to the Chamber so they can stay informed.
“This is a new experience for everyone,” Thompson said. “I have never lived through a world-wide pandemic to this extent before.”
The Chamber as a business has changed the way they are operating as well. They have suspended all events and eliminated large meetings until Monday, April 13.
“We are currently collecting change-of-business activity, additional services business members are doing and other additional information, which is emailed to the membership and posted on Facebook daily,” Thompson said.