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West Michigan private-public coalition website COVIDWM.org assists businesses and individuals

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Protecting the public from the spread of the coronavirus led to executive orders closing or disrupting businesses. That has led to confusion navigating an economy mostly shut down by a pandemic. A coalition has formed providing resources assisting businesses and displaced employees.

The West Michigan COVID-19 Business Coalition is a potential solution for business owners seeking to cut through the confusion created by coronavirus mitigation strategies including social distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses. 

The coalition created COVIDWM.org. Here, resources are gathered and categorized into six distinct areas. It begins with State and Federal Legislative Updates including information like which businesses are considered critical infrastructure as one example. There’s a section dedicated to Business Continuity.

“SBA Disaster Loans, MEDC Small Business Relief programming, Energy Assistance programming that’s being available. So, making sure that all the different resources that are available are there.”

Rick Baker is president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber. He explains the third section is a lifeline to local organizations providing further assistance.

“Like The Right place, Experience Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Chamber and many others that are here to help business.”

Employee Resources including Applying for Unemployment Benefits along with sections devoted to Best Practices and Health Updates are also accessible. Coalition members include Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (West MI), City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., Grand Rapids Urban League, Kent County, National Business League, Inc., West Michigan Hispanic Chamber and West Michigan Works!

The website is https://www.covidwm.org/ I’m Patrick Center.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.