Owensboro Chamber working with state on reopening economy

The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce is working to reopen the local economy by following the White House “Guidelines for Opening up America Again.”

Even if getting back to normal means having a different look for a while, officials with the Chamber said they are eager to get back to it.

The Chamber had a conference call last week with Gov. Andy Beshear about the plan for reopening, saying that the Commonwealth’s plan for reopening — the Healthy at Work Plan — would fall into the White House’s parameters and apply to the entire state.

“Governor Beshear was clear the statewide implementation plan would articulate how businesses would reopen and that localities would not have separate guidelines,” said Candance Castlen Brake, Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.

Beshear also announced he would be involving a broad group of businesses in each field to make recommendations on the best and safest way for their individual sectors to open, Brake said.

A key member of that task force is the Kentucky Chamber, which has been working closely with Owensboro’s local Chamber.

The Owensboro Chamber is sending out a survey Wednesday to its members to receive feedback in a variety of areas. Brake said it is “very important” to hear back from the community, as the results will ensure the information they share represents the regional economic landscape.

“We will be planning more opportunities for updates on unemployment regulations as we begin bringing laid off or furloughed employees back to work while adhering to reopening standards as they are released,” she said.

Working as advocates for both Frankfort and Washington, D.C., Brake said the Chamber realizes that no business sector has been untouched by the pandemic and subsequent economic shutdown.

“These advocacy efforts are based on what you have told us in your emails, phone calls and contacts with our membership,” she said.

Brake also encouraged those in need to check in about getting assistance from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which received another $310 billion after the initial funding ran out.

“It is possible that these funds will be available (soon),” Brake said. “We know that many of you have not been able to access this relief at this point.”

By Katie Pickens The Owensboro Times