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Chambers of commerce offering support to members during pandemic

Businesses throughout Monmouth County are being affected in different ways by the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.

During this time of uncertainty, business operators have been able to turn to area chambers of commerce for assistance.

The Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, based in Red Bank, has been keeping its members informed about ongoing developments during the pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 6,700 New Jerseyans.

And the chamber will work with businesses when those that have been closed by order of the governor are given permission to reopen in what may be a “new normal,” Executive Director Jennifer Eckhoff said.

“We want to help our members the best we can during these times,” Eckhoff said. “We want to be a resource for our members and help them go through the right channels to make their businesses better for when things return to a new normal.”

Businesses that are members of the Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce are in Red Bank, Eatontown, Fair Haven, Rumson, Sea Bright, Tinton Falls, Oceanport, Monmouth Beach, Little Silver, Shrewsbury and Middletown.

Most of the chamber’s members are not in the retail sector and individuals have been able to mostly work from home during the pandemic, Eckhoff said.

Since March 23, the chamber has been offering free Zoom sessions twice a week for members. Each session provides information that is intended to help members build their business.

Guest speakers share their expertise about business matters and offer tips to help business operators keep their operation going during the pandemic.

The chamber posts information on its website at https://emacc.org/ about virtual workshops that are being offered by various organizations and other news that can help members work effectively during the pandemic.

“We want to show our members we are all in this together,” Eckhoff said. “These Zoom calls promote good practices that can help our members keep their businesses going.”

Eckhoff said the chamber’s directors are hoping that by the fall they can resume holding small gatherings for the members to help them network and find ways to promote their business.

The chamber’s directors also want to ensure their members are well informed in case a second wave of the pandemic emerges during the winter.

“We want our members to be prepared for the new normal and how to go about things if we have another coronavirus crisis in the winter,” Eckhoff said.

The Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce, based in Freehold Borough, has also provided assistance for its members during the pandemic that has changed the way business is being done in Monmouth County.

Chamber President Tamer Gouda said the organization is still holding a weekly Perkolator Networking Breakfast for members, but it is holding the gathering virtually.

The networking event focuses on how business operators should handle issues during the pandemic, Gouda said, adding that guest speakers are addressing issues members need to be aware of at this time.

Chamber members who are still operating are being encouraged to let the organization’s directors know their status so updates can be posted on the chamber’s website at www.monmouthregionalchamber.com

“We are trying to help our members handle the crisis as best we can,” Gouda said. “We are limited in some ways, but still looking to do what we can to help our members and their businesses.”

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