Welcome Terence Roberts
TATT Updates Dean Hybl, Sharon Purvis
- Pique 2020: Postponed until September 14th; panel content is fluid at this point as the committee decides whether to make big changes or small tweaks to the panel topics
- County Listening Tour: A couple have been scheduled, and all seven rural counties have been contacted. The purpose is to hear about challenges and concerns to look for commonalities that can be addressed more broadly.
Staying Mentally Healthy—Elizabeth Freeman, USC-Upstate (you can see her presentation slides here)
Mental Health Tips in the Current (this will change) New Normal (adjusting our lives to the reality of COVID-19)
- Don’t separate mental health from physical: anything you do for your physical health contributes to your mental health
- Understand your mental health systemically, like we do our physical health:
- Sense of self (I)
- Sense of others (they)
- Sense of community (we)
- All 3 have four components: identity, awareness, spirit, and emotions
- Understand yourself—be self-aware
- Empathize with others
- Facilitate the WE
Upstate Tourism Update—Tim Todd, Discover Upcountry
- January and February were good, and then the bad news came: tourism revenues down 46%
- Will probably be down 50% ($7.5 billion) for the year
- International travel is down 90%
- In the first quarter, 180,000 jobs lost in restaurants/lodging (mostly in restaurants), but hopefully many will come back. Probably not all.
- Guidelines/recommendations for the “new normal” for lodging: no valet parking, no buffet breakfasts, no bellmen, limited contact check-in
- Inside dining changes: disposable menus, no shared condiments, tables spaced apart, no parties larger than 8
- Tourism recovery plan: focus on a 350 mile radius (plus Ohio) for marketing, assuming that people will be driving, not flying—”Dream now, discover later”
- Short-term rentals (VRBO, Air B&B) might do better than hotels because of the lack of contact/shared space
- Tourism will be more of individual experiences vs. group events
- State parks reopened last Friday with limited capacity, and picnic shelters, community buildings, etc. are not open
New Senior Meals Program—Catriona Carlisle, Greenville County Meals on Wheels
- Greenville is one of 15 counties in SC to receive an emergency senior nutrition program funded by BlueCross BlueShield
- Any resident 60 years and older can receive a five meal frozen pack
- The focus is on rural areas with limited resources: Ware Place, Fountain Inn, and Berea are the drive-through pick-up sites
- Once a week for the next 5 weeks
- Many of the seniors who are receiving the meals are individuals who haven’t needed to access resources before
Entrepreneur Ecosystem – Erin Ouzts, Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem
- Final webinar next week: a round table discussion, with questions about what participants are seeing and what they need
- June 25th quarterly meeting will hopefully be in person; details to come
- Click here for videos and presentations from the previous webinars
Laurens: Amanda Munyan, Laurens County Chamber of Commerce
- Chamber, county, various groups working together to support businesses
- Putting together a business recovery plan
- Surveying the community to see what will make people comfortable to visit businesses: gloves, masks, plexiglass barriers, etc.
- Working to change the culture to encourage community to purchase anything they possibly can from local businesses
- Mobilizing for financial assistance
- Workshops to strengthen businesses, focus on basics that might be overlooked as businesses are in survival mode
- “Business boost” videos, promoting local businesses
- Think Local Laurens County
Cherokee, Spartanburg, Union: Hannah Jarrett, United Way of the Piedmont
- United for All fund
- 211 Coordinated entry system
- 266 households have accessed assistance, mostly in Spartanburg County—working on raising awareness in Cherokee and Union Counties, making sure people know what resources are available
- $111K distributed in the first month, mostly in rent/mortgage assistance
- Most are reaching out for the first time; only 15% are frequent users of safety net resources
- About 6 weeks more on hand, but continuing to fund-raise, trying to raise enough money for 3 months
- May has seen a doubling in the numbers daily of people reaching out, with the moratorium on evictions being lifted on the 15th
- Click here to see graphs and stats
Greenville: JoKeitha Seabrook, United Way of Greenville County
- Fund-raising for Greenville’s United for All fund has reached $1 million
- Emphasis has been on food first, working with the school district to get food to families
- Have seen a huge need in Hispanic community—funding to local churches that work with that community
- Have granted out over $367K in the “housing next” phase, formed a large coalition of non-profits to address housing isues
- 211 system is in-house in Greenville, offering Spanish translation as needed; more than 2500 calls so far
- Anticipating an increase in housing assistance
Other counties are providing a positive update and community challenge shared by Sharon Purvis:
- Annie Caggiano, Oconee Economic Alliance: Our good news is that Borg Warner is back to production on a limited basis. Also by 3:00 today we will be announcing that the Newry Mill has been purchased and is being redeveloped into apartments. This is being doing by the M peters group which did the Plush Mills project in Greenville.
- Mike Clary, City of Abbeville:
Encouraged by: I have been encouraged by the resourcefulness of many local businesses in adapting to the current situation. For example, several local restaurants seem to have been able to completely change their business model in order to stay open and relevant.
Challenge: A major challenge for the City has been the loss of event revenue and the loss of the economic impact of the City’s events on local businesses. So far the City has had to cancel the annual Spring Festival and over 15 shows at the Opera House. The loss of that revenue and the lost potential impact has been a challenge, but perhaps the main challenge is looking towards the future; i.e. how to successfully manage the need to bring in people and have events with a retail and dining economy that is largely based on tourism with the need to keep people safe and not rush back into operations too soon.
- Cindy Hopkins, Easley Chamber of Commerce:
Encouraged by: Have heard from many businesses in the last couple of weeks that PPP funds have finally been received to help ease their financial burdens (for the moment). It’s been nice to talk with businesses and hear a sense of hope in their voice.
Challenge: Many businesses have shared concerns about re-opening.
- Pam Christopher, Anderson Chamber of Commerce:
Encouraged by: The leaders in our community have been working together to bring solutions for our business community and our citizens. From our elected officials, to our State and Cities/Towns Administrators, School Superintendents and post secondary colleges/universities have been coordinating efforts to answer the needs throughout Anderson County. Our County Officials have been checking in with each of our towns/cities to ensure they have everything they need and assisting them. Our United Way and non-profits have been tremendous in providing services to include food and working with our utilities regarding those citizens that have needs during this time. Big shout out to Carol Burdette that has put in tremendous hours to serve those in need. So proud of all those in our community that have been helping our friends and neighbors in Seneca and Oconee County that had damage during the recent storms.
Challenge: We still have businesses within our county that weren’t able to access grants/funding and there is a great need in particular for our small business community. However, we have efforts that are being worked on to address these concerns. Our Chambers of Commerce are working collectively in the Upstate to provide relief and help to our business community and have submitted forward an outline at the State level to address those needs/concerns. In addition, our Chambers along with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce are working on efforts to protect our business community from any lawsuits that could affect them during this Covid-19 timeframe. With all our businesses are going through this is the last thing they need at this time. We are also hearing repeatedly that those that have filed for unemployment have still yet to receive any assistance or feedback. Our concern is that many have been without a paycheck for almost two months now.
- Heather Jones, Greenwood Partnership Alliance:
Encouraging: We got the draft of the recovery plan completed, Battleplan Greenwood, and our first meeting of this task force was held on Monday.
Challenge: Unemployment claims jumped from low 300’s on March 21 and exceeded 1,000 last week.
Adjourn Terence Roberts