Four Corners Chambers story

Local businesses, including restaurants offering takeout and delivery, are taking precautions to keep employees and customers safe during the pandemic.

FOUR CORNERS — “In this together” is the mantra adopted by many Americans concerning COVID-19 and it seems to be the same for local chambers of commerce and their members.

Staff for the Northeast Polk Chamber of Commerce, with 363 members, and the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce, with 700 members, say they are doing their best to maintain contact and keep the members informed with up-to-date information during this unprecedented crisis.

Both chambers have set-up a regular schedule to call each member to stay informed of their status and answer any questions or concerns.

“We can’t get out there to see each one of them, obviously, so we are calling all the members just to touch base to see how they are doing,” said Lana Stripling, the Executive Director for the Northeast Polk County Chamber of Commerce. “We want to remind them that we are here if we can help in any way.”

Help from the chambers has come in the form websites and email blasts chock full of links, up-to-date data on financial assistance from the government, and, sometimes, just an ear to listen.

The Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber has also instituted weekly relevant webinars for its members. With topics such as “Community Resources,” “Mental Health,” and up next “Tourism,” they have been created with their members in mind.

“We have had to switch to a virtual platform, obviously,” said John Newstreet, the Executive Director for the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce. “But, we want to make sure that our members have all the resources they need.”

With topics on its website listed under “COVID-19 Resources and Updates” and including the status of restaurant members, changes in operations at the bank, attractions to visit virtually, and resources for businesses, the organizations seem to cover most areas of interest.

Stripling said staff for the Northeast Polk Chamber are doing their best to promote the businesses that are still open, often by way of social media.

“We are trying to get the word out about what restaurants are providing to go and delivery,” she said. “The businesses are grateful for the support and appreciate our phone calls.”

Both chambers encourage everyone — not just members — to visit their websites for information.