Website offers resources for West Michigan businesses impacted by COVID-19

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Courtesy Experience Grand Rapids

A new coalition launched a website for West Michigan businesses to navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

COVIDWM.org offers information on state and federal legislation, business continuity, employee resources and best practices, as well as health updates and links to organizations that can help.

The West Michigan COVID-19 Business Coalition, a new partnership comprised of business, community and governmental organizations, collaborated to develop the site in response to confusion among business owners over how to navigate business slowdowns and shutdowns in the wake of the pandemic.

Leaders from Experience Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and The Right Place, Inc. convened the coalition aimed at making critical information more accessible to all area businesses and their employees.

“This unprecedented situation has created significant operational challenges for many businesses across West Michigan,” said Rick Baker, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber. “During these times, it is crucial to concentrate our efforts on fierce advocacy for business, as well as business sustainability, and work to provide resources to foster a thriving and prosperous West Michigan for all.”

“We back West Michigan business,” said Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place. “It’s the lifeblood of our local economy and what makes West Michigan such a great place to live. We know that a strong, vibrant business community will be key to our recovery when our region begins to emerge from this global crisis.”

Other members include the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (West Michigan), city of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Grand Rapids Urban League, Kent County, National Business League Inc., West Michigan Hispanic Chamber and West Michigan Works!

While industries from manufacturing to hair salons have been affected, restaurants and bars have been particularly hard hit by the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

“Our lifestyle businesses — hotels, breweries, restaurants, shops and attractions — are so important to the quality of life in West Michigan, and they’re critical to how we market our destination to business and leisure travelers,” said Doug Small, president and CEO of Experience Grand Rapids. “We want to do all we can to support them and help them come out strong on the other side of this crisis.”

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