As you have undoubtedly had to pivot and address many unforeseen challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bend Chamber has, too. We shifted gears fairly quickly after the announcement from the Governor’s office that we were “sheltering in place” and established ourselves as the hub for information, funding, and important personal protection equipment (PPE).
As our in-person events were no longer feasible, we developed and implemented our weekly COVID-19 Impact Webinar Series to help disseminate critical and timely information. We also partnered with the OSU-Cascades Innovation Co-Lab to create CentralOregonSOS.com – an online repository for important resources, such as funding, information, and connections – for employers, employees and communities in Central Oregon.
Prior to any reopening guidelines being published, we advocated on behalf of the business community for the Governor’s office and City of Bend to provide guidance and a plan for how businesses can reopen safely. Following that effort, the Chamber was asked to be on a team that facilitated input and feedback from local businesses that helped shape the final guidelines as we now know them.
To help with funding support for local businesses, we worked with a group of volunteers to develop SOSBend.com and also became an administrator of the Boost Up Bend Fund, initially funded by Oregon Community Foundation.
As the importance of PPE has become more and more apparent, the Bend Chamber is a distribution point for the County’s supply of hand sanitizer and face shields for local businesses as they work through their reopening plans.
Finally, we are working in partnership with the Redmond Chamber and spearheading a “Welcome Back Central Oregon” campaign that helps businesses communicate to their customers that they are following prescribed OHA safety guidelines for reopening, and, informing the general public that washing hands, staying six feet apart, and face coverings are important.
Your continued partnership with us goes a long way in supporting and enabling the work we have done during our pivot and is very much appreciated. We look forward to eventually getting back to “normal” at some point and are thankful for supporters like you that will help us all get there.