March 17, 2020
Dear Center Street Marketplace BID 39 Community:
We realize that the majority of our businesses on Center Street, in BID 39s district are “small” retail and personal service related, there is need to exercise safety, cleanliness, and leadership at all times. The response to the COVID 19 has impacted our local and national business operations. Today and every day, our leadership team is paying close attention to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services guidance https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm regarding ways to stay safe and continue (or discontinue) operations during this time.
With respect to social distancing and being safe we are canceling our April 24, 2020 Board of Directors meeting and will not participate in any face to face events until further notice. Our board chairperson: R.P. Potts, Treasurer: Philip Blake and I are monitoring the business climate on Center Street and will continue to be available to you. Our board has issued 19 “A Cleaner Center Street” immediate impact grants in the amount of $100 each to small businesses in the Center Street BID 39 District as of March 16th. These grants were for cleaning supplies; and part of our 2020 operational plan and business model.
While, there is a lot of information available to everyone; for our small businesses I just participated in a Webinar hosted by MMACs Tim Sheehy and moderated by Melissa Hughes (Coronavirus and your businessv2). “Best and Next Practices for Adapting Your Business Operating Model to a Global Pandemic Outbreak”. There were leaders from large Wisconsin for profit, nonprofit, and governmental entities (including Dr. Raymond from the Medical College of Wisconsin), describing the best practices that they have used, such as:
• The need for clear leadership and direction; communicate with employees, owners, and families. Try to send daily messages to your employees.
• Take the necessary steps to make sure that your business is safe. Use social distancing when necessary – you could remove items that are overstocked in your business and bring out on an as needed basis.
• Make sure you communicate with your customers about stock on hand (or receivables) and be realistic if items will be restocked
• Make sure that the common touchpoints are clean at all times (doors, handles, keyboards, registers, countertops, floors)
• Limit your leadership teams’ in-person meetings with each other and others – even if you are in the office together, practice meeting virtually or over the phone.
• Limit extra visitors – Consider at maximum of person that can be in your workplace (or store).
• If you have perishable foods, please consider donating the food to your employees or a food pantry prior to spoilage.
• Remote work – If your business can operate remotely, try this option. Although we realize that the nature of retail is usually “hands on”, handling non-essential business off site could help.
• Identify possible risks and mitigate them (even going forward), such as identifying your policies and procedures in place for your workforce (leave of absence, long or short-term disability, days off, benefits available…)
It is imperative that we share resources and local information and ask that you pay attention to the media outlets as well; here are some helpful links:
School information – Parents and Caregivers – MPS will offer to-go meals at 20 distribution sites around the city from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM on weekdays.
The meals will include lunch and breakfast items for the next morning.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html & www.cdc.gov/handwashing/handwashing-family.html
City of Milwaukee Health Department: city.milwaukee.gov/Health/2019ncov.htm#.XmFPPKhKiUk
In closing, we ask that everyone stay safe and connected. Your BID is available for you.
Dr. Jennifer Potts,
Center Street Marketplace, BID 39 Executive Director (414) 306-3586 (Jennifer@centerstreetmarketplacebid39.org)