As Plano practices social distancing, local businesses in the city are seeing less foot traffic and consequently fewer sales.

The Plano Chamber of Commerce wants to help protect small businesses in the city by reaching out to chamber members with virtual support.

“Chamber staff has been reaching out to our members by phone and social channels to check in and to offer support and resources, as well as to check the pulse on challenges they are already facing,” Chamber President Kelle Marsalis said.

“This is an unprecedented challenge for our business community, but we know that Plano is resilient and the chamber is committed to supporting our members through these ever-changing circumstances,” she added.

The service industry in Plano is among the hardest hit in the city, according to Marsalis. As of Wednesday evening, all restaurants are required to operate only through drive-thru and takeout.

In response, the chamber created a Facebook group named “Plano Business Hub” to help restaurants and businesses to promote offerings and updates.

“We recognize that our restaurant industry is among the hardest hit right now and are having to make quick changes to their business operations,” Marsalis said.

The chamber is also looking at the possibility of hosting a networking event online. Marsalis said chamber members will be able to connect with other businesses and receive support from within their homes.

According to Marsalis, there is still a lot the people of Plano can do if they want to support small and local businesses from a distance.

“In addition to ordering meals to-go, for delivery, or curbside pickup, residents can also purchase gift cards directly from businesses for later use, shop online, or pre-pay for services to be used in the future,” Marsalis said.

“These efforts could make the difference for local businesses.”

Through its website, the chamber plans to update its members on assistance opportunities for businesses from the local, state, and federal levels.

“We are also sharing information for our small business community to access necessary emergency support,” Marsalis said.

According to the chamber, the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering some states low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses. Marsalis said the chamber expects Texas to be declared an economic injury disaster loan area within the next few days.

“And we are working closely with the city of Plano to share information with the business community on new requirements and regulations as they become public,” Marsalis said.

As for chamber events, Marsalis said members can expect to connect virtually until at least the end of the month.

“We made the difficult decision to postpone all chamber events through the end of March, at which time we will re-evaluate. The LegacyTexas Business Center is also closed to the public until further notice,” Marsalis said.

To find the chamber’s COVID-19 resource page, go to planochamber.org and go to “COVID-19 Resource Page.”

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