EDISON – The Edison Chamber of Commerce is working around the clock to be a proactive resource, facilitator, advocate and provider of information, services and support for the township business community and the families who own and work for local businesses, said Joseph Coyle, executive director of the chamber.
“This is an unprecedented time for all of us, including our business community,” he said. “All businesses, especially our mall, local businesses, are struggling, not only to get through this challenge, but to be able to survive and continue in the future.”
Gov. Phil Murphy implemented a series of social distancing measures to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19/coronavirus in New Jersey. The measures will remain in place until the executive order Murphy signed on March 16 has been lifted.
Among the directives, Murphy indefinitely closed all public and private preschool, elementary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education, as well as all casinos, racetracks, gyms, movie theaters and performing arts centers, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
On March 19, Murphy ordered all barbershops, hair salons, spas, nail and eyelash salons, tattoo parlors and social clubs to shut down.
Coyle, who also serves as a township councilman, said the chamber has been out in front, establishing direct communication with its members and connecting members with local, county and state government.
“We first took an initiative to communicate every day with an 11 a.m. conference call with local business owners, local government officials and other professionals to hear concerns, ask questions about available resources and seek assistance,” he said. “We are working with our legislators to identify grant and other financial assistance for our local businesses.”
The chamber staff is doing outreach to members to assess their needs and concerns and taking inventory of their needs, Coyle said.
“The chamber is also using our resources and social media to highlight our member businesses that are open and that are able to provide food, supplies and other essentials, so that they can assist our community and create opportunities and customers for our local businesses,” he said. “Our member businesses, like our restaurants, coffee houses, meat markets, delicatessens, bakeries, and others, have food and other inventory and are eager to serve and help the community.”
In addition, Coyle said its nonprofit organizations – the Jewish Community Center of Middlesex County and YMCA – are offering assistance to local government to aid in providing services for the community.
“The Chamber of Commerce is proactively functioning as the liaison and coordinator of these efforts,” he said. “Our warehouse businesses are prepared to help and trucking companies are ready to ship.”
The chamber has created information pages on its website to provide information on the COVID-19 virus.
“We are in regular communication with our national chamber partners and the NJBIA [New Jersey Business and Industry Association] to identify best practices, new resources and all available support for the business community,” Coyle said. “We are literally in hourly contact with our local, county and state government officials, including our Edison Township administration, Mayor [Thomas Lankey], the Office of Emergency Management, our senator, assembly persons, freeholders and others. We are also regularly in contact with representatives of Hackensack Meridian Health, JFK Medical Center for planning, updated medical information and resource availability.”
Some business tips on the chamber website include applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan – aid that helps businesses overcome loss of revenue – and Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application; taking online orders through third parties – Doordash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats; discussing with insurance providers if the COVID-19 outbreak makes business applicable for business interruption insurance; and ensuring clients of business cleanliness.
Coyle said the chamber will be a resource throughout the challenging time as well as after the health crisis has abated to assist the business community to resume and rebuild.
For more information, visit www.edisonchamber.com/.