Greater Hyannis Chamber of Commerce Provides Business Community Update on Virus Response

HYANNIS – The Greater Hyannis Chamber of Commerce will be operating under reduced hours but available remotely from 8 to noon, Monday through Friday, until further notice as it adapts to help businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s been devastating to small business. That includes restaurants, shop owners, even light manufacturers that we have in Hyannis. It’s just been a devastating event,” said President and CEO Todd Deluca.

“I think for the first week and a half, people were walking around wondering what to do, sort of amazed that this has happened. We need to probably think about shifting to recovery.”

Deluca said that the pandemic could not have come at a worse time for the Cape’s businesses, as so much of it is dependent on a seasonal tourism economy.

“Businesses who aren’t operating can’t begin operating, because anybody in the businesses you’re talking about are non-essential. They’re the kind of businesses that can’t really move to an online model. That’s not really our economy,” said Deluca.

“Our economy requires people to walk up and down the streets, pop into shops, have a drink or something to eat, take a cruise on the harbor. All those kinds of things are non-essential right now.”

Deluca and the Chamber of Commerce will reach out to seasonal and year round businesses and ask them what ways they could still do business and what they need to overcome the difficulties, and possibly relay that to FEMA or other organizations that can assist.

Deluca said that it may take some time before the Cape’s usual economy begins to get revitalized after the pandemic has passed its peak.

“It seems to me like we went from sort of normal life to disaster in 72 hours, and I don’t think it’s going to end the same way it started. I think that what you’re going to see is we’re going to go from quarantine to restricted living, and then from restricted living to less restricted living, and then from less restricted living to maybe normalcy again. And that’s going to take a long time.”

Deluca said that businesses need to plug in as best they can to some of the recovery money that’s going to be made available by various government programs and funds in order to help stay afloat while the outbreak continues.

“Unemployment is going to be available to owner operators and to 1099 employees and that’s not generally the case,” said Deluca.

Usually, owners pay into unemployment but are ineligible to collect if they close their business.

“It is important that these people have some kind of safety net that’s available to other citizens. I was worried how these people were going to get the basic necessities of life, so I was happy to see that they are being included in being eligible for unemployment,” said Deluca.

“I encourage people to deal with life the way it is but to start thinking about moving from crisis to recovery. And to try and start locking into the programs that are going to come our way.”

The Chamber of Commerce invites businesses to visit their website for informative links on the coronavirus which are updated daily, as well as other information for businesses still operating during the crisis.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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Hyannis, MA 02601
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