Over the last week or so I have had the opportunity to talk with several business owners about how the current COVID-19 situation is impacting them, both from a business standpoint and from an emotional standpoint. I know that many of you are struggling to sift through the vast number of communications you receive to figure out what your options are, and which local, state and federal programs are best for you to pursue. Frustration and confusion are words I have heard a lot in the last week.

At the Greater Freeport Partnership, we have also participated in many conference calls and webinars that included state and federal people involved with many of the new programs that have been instituted over the last few weeks. In many instances, the representatives of the agencies rolling out these programs are scrambling to figure out the details, get decisions from those at the top of their organizations and find solutions that help businesses and individuals. I am confident that the local, state and federal officials are doing what they can to mitigate the terrible impacts of COVID-19. Another phrase that has been popular this week is “we are building the plane as we are flying it.”

It seems that so much has happened so fast that now everyone is scrambling to figure out the details and how everything is supposed to work. That is one of the reasons why we are planning to offer a series of webinars and conference calls to help you get answers, or at least more clarity, on the variety of programs that are available. We are starting with a webinar on local responses to COVID-19 with Freeport Mayor Jodi Miller and Stephenson County Board Chairman Bill Hadley. They will be speaking on a Zoom conference at noon today (Monday, April 13th). Details for how to get into the conference are below in the newsletter. If you are reading this after that time, or you are not able to get into the conference, we will be recording it and positing it on our website as soon as possible.

We are also planning to do other calls and webinars. We are planning to ask local experts to help explain some of the state and federal programs to you in straightforward, easy to understand language. We are hoping to provide some clarity, understanding and hope in these confusing times. Please let us know if there is a topic you would like us to consider as we would like to help YOU address your needs and concerns. We will always record and post these sessions online so that you can refer to them while we are still dealing with all of the impacts of the COVID-19 situation.

Bill Clow is the Business Engagement Director for the Greater Freeport Partnership. He can be reached at bclow@greaterfreeport.com or 815-233-1353.