Area business chambers publish 'back to business tool kit'
Several chambers of commerce -- including groups for the Lake Zurich, Wauconda, Fox Lake and Barrington areas -- have joined together to publish a 16-page "back to business tool kit" online.
Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Corr said chambers have always been clearinghouses of information for business people and never before has it been so important that the correct information is available.
"Our businesses are going to need us more than ever, not only to advocate for them but to arm them with knowledge they need," Corr said Tuesday. "That's why chambers were designed, to provide tools for businesses to be successful."
The online tool kit includes information on the state's reopening guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic and planning a safe reopening. It also features safety checklists, printable posters and helpful links to other sources of information.
The soonest the state is likely to move to "phase 3" of recovery is at the end of the month. That phase would allow the reopening of businesses such as manufacturers, offices, retail, barbershops and salons. Corr said it is critical that businesses come up with their plans before they are allowed to reopen.
"It is very important right now to help local business people get ready, to use the time right now to develop plans and define what the new normal is going to look like," Corr said.
The 16-page tool kit is available to download from the websites for the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce (barringtonchamber.com); the Fox Lake, Richmond, Spring Grove Area Chamber of Commerce (flrsgac.com); the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce (lzacc.com); and the Wauconda Area Chamber of Commerce (waucondachamber.org).
The kit also includes a sample COVID-19 liability waiver that personal service businesses could ask customers to sign and a form business owners can use to track employee temperatures.
In addition, there are tips for using email lists, social media and promotions to bring customers back.
Leaders of the four chambers have been working together on the plan for several weeks, Corr said.
"Just as our chamber encourages businesses to collaborate, it was great for our area chambers to come together in this effort," said Maria Weisbruch, the executive director of the Wauconda Area Chamber of Commerce. "Partnership and collaboration are essential right now."
Corr said the tool kit will be an evolving document which will change as more information about best practices becomes available, including lessons learned from states which have already reopened.
"Every day we're learning more and are able to see what works and what doesn't work," Corr said.