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Business Advocacy Group Puts Together Strategies For Local Businesses During COVID-19

Wyoming Business and Industry Federation

Chambers of Commerce across the state are taking steps to ensure local businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The Wyoming Business and Industry Federation is made up of several chambers of commerce and advocates for businesses in the state. It's developed a two-phase plan.

Dale Steenbergen, Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, said the goal is to provide reliable information and support to Wyoming businesses throughout this crisis. Steenbergen said the first step is make sure everyone is safe.

"We call it a clean bill of health. We're gathering up all the information we can, giving it to our members, so they can make sure their employees, themselves, their families are healthy. We thought that was the number one concern," he said.

Other points in the first phase include helping businesses get disaster relief funds from the federal government and hosting calls between legislators and other business people in the state.

The first phase ends with the day Wyoming gets back to work, Steenbergen said.

He poses some questions businesses and officials will need to ask themselves.

"What does that day look like? What kinds of social distancing are we going to need to do to be able to keep us safe?" he said.

Steenbergen said this community isn't advocating for a particular day to get back to work

"We're not health professionals. We're not trying to tell everybody what day it should that we go back to work. We just want to make sure that everyone involved from local organizations from state government to federal government is talking about what needs to happen for this day to occur," he said.

In the second phase of the plan, they plan to advocate for policies that develop economic growth at the local and state levels and to encourage people to shop at local businesses, Steenbergen said.

"Our local businesses have to have money and energy to be able to fire back up. So we want to know what that looks like and how much economic weight these businesses are carrying," he said.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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