All one has to do is look down Manchester streets to see the effects the COVID-19 pandemic is having on local businesses. Where parking is usually at a premium, now there are plenty of spaces to be found.
Whether or not stores are open for business is a different story.
Restaurants are closed except for drive-up or curb-side service, with other businesses also limited as to how they can service their customers.
Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jessica Pape, has heard the concerns from businesses.
Much of that concern centers around the uncertainty of how long the impact of the virus will last.
“Businesses have their financial worry and the impact it will have,” Pape said. “Even more so is looking at the long-term impact and knowing how to be prepared to ride it out.”
Pape said another concern is what happens after businesses return to regular hours.
“It’s knowing what their needs will be when they do open back up. The business owners want to know that the economy is strong that they will be able to serve their customers.”
With that uncertainty, Pape said many businesses are holding tight for now. She said collaboration among businesses in town has been important. “I see how businesses are working together, encouraging and supporting each other. It is amazing and reaffirms to me again why our community is so great.”
Beside that support, Pape said the Iowa Economic Development Authority is already surveying businesses. “They are assessing the impact to know how they can help.”
Pape encourages people to support local businesses if possible, even in a limited way. “Perhaps you can take advantage of those businesses that offer online shopping, carry-out or curb-side service or free shipping.”
Business owners can also find resources from the following organizations:
• For unemployment information — Iowa Workforce Development https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/ or reach the Dubuque Iowa Works Office at 556-5800 or 866-227-9874
• Disaster Assistance for Businesses — Small Business Administration — sba.gov or inquire about disaster assistance via phone at 800-659-2955
• For factual information related to the virus — Iowa Department of Public Health — https://idph.iowa.gov/ or via phone at (515) 281-7689
• For updates on Iowa closures and restrictions— https://governor.iowa.gov/newsroom