Categorized | OPINION

We’re here to help you through this situation

Posted on 15 April 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

Chad Kulas

It’s hard to read anything these days in the news not about COVID-19. The virus has spread throughout the world and in every state of the U.S. Here in Minnesota, we are not immune though we have been doing very well in many national rankings. Minnesotans have done a good job listening to direction, and taking necessary precautions as they stay at home and avoid taking unnecessary risks. A crisis like COVID-19 has two main problems – the health scare and the economic impact. The Midway Chamber has been doing what we can to help educate our members in a number of ways. I’ll share some here.

Tips on working from home
For many, this is a big adjustment. And to do it effectively, you should look at more than just firing up the laptop and using your cell phone. Do you have your laptop or desktop at an appropriate angle and distance from you? Is your office space well-lit and (as best as you can) free of distractions?
For most of us, we have become a lot more aware of virtual office tools like the Zoom call (and probably all had our moments where we forget we’re on mute or have the rogue child or pet in the background). Take a few minutes to look up tips for how to best use the new technologies and discover what works best for you.

Giving back
Hopefully your life hasn’t been too disrupted. If the worst thing is you now share an office space with your family, consider yourself lucky as many others cope with layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts. If you can, think of those in need at this time and give back. There are several nonprofits looking for help, as many of them now find themselves with a new set of challenges. If you sew, you could make masks for people to wear in public. Another way to give back is by getting take-out as our local restaurants are in desperate need of your support. You could even take to social media after ordering food (or beer as the taprooms are in business for take-out and delivery) and let everyone know who you’re supporting.

Finally, many businesses and residents need financial support. Thankfully, there are several programs available from all levels of the government to foundations like Otto Bremer. In Saint Paul, if you are a business with under $2 million of revenue and have been in operation in Saint Paul for at least three months you can apply for a Bridge Fund Grant of $7,500. At least 300 small businesses will receive the grant, with the checks expected to go in the mail late April or early May. A Bridge Fund is also available for residents with income at or below 40% of Area Median Income and at least one minor child under 18 in the household. There will be 1,000 households who receive $1,000 through the program. Bridge Fund applications are due April 19; for more information go to www.stpaul.gov.
While it may be hard to find news not about COVID-19, it is also hard to take walks and not see sidewalk chalk of inspirational messages from kids. Walks are a lifesaver during this time and positive messages from some of our youngest neighbors remind us that we will get through this, and hopefully take time to reflect and remember all we do have.
The Midway Chamber has a webpage dedicated to tips, resources and more related COVID-19 at www.midwaychamber.com/pages/Covid19.