Coronavirus Update from Tony Howard 3.13.2020
Dear Loudoun Chamber members:
After serious consideration of the issues involving the Novel Coronavirus pandemic facing our community and our nation, and after consultation with local public health and public safety officials, the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce has decided to suspend public events and member-focused committee meetings through Friday, March 27, 2020.
The Chamber office will remain open at this time, with many Chamber staff members provided the option to telework from home, as an added safety precaution. The decision to resume normal Chamber activities will be reassessed on a weekly basis, and we are leaving open the option to lengthen the suspension, should the situation involving this public health crisis warrant it.
Chamber staff will work with our Board of Directors, committee leadership and venue partners to reschedule our postponed events. Staff also will work with Committee chairs to organize virtual committee meetings during this time, using teleconference or video conference capabilities.
I realize that this is a draconian measure, and I promise you it is one I hoped to never implement.
But, after several weeks of bad news on this issue, in just the last 24 hours Loudoun Public Schools announced it would close through March 20, a second presumptive positive case of COVID 19 in Loudoun was announced and Governor Ralph Northam declared a State of Emergency in Virginia.
It is now abundantly clear that this global pandemic, as declared by the World Health Organization, is not getting better. Our top concern is the safety and well-being of our members, guests and staff, and their families, and we believe that ceasing the Chamber’s public activities is a necessary measure to help limit the spread of this virus.
The Loudoun Chamber will continue to serve as a conduit for information from public health agencies to our members. We ask, that you follow this guidance faithfully, including simple measures such as washing hands, using hand sanitizer, staying home if you feel ill and seeing a doctor if you feel it is necessary.
Please also take advantage of these resources:
- Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Loudoun County’s Coronavirus Information: https://www.loudoun.gov/5307/Coronavirus
Anyone who has a question about this decision and about how the Loudoun Chamber will continue to serve our members and their businesses, nonprofits or public sector agencies during this three week period may contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome your comments, insights and even criticisms.
I appreciate your understanding for this decision and I pray that you and your families remain safe, and prosperous, throughout this ordeal. I also appreciate all that you are doing, and will continue to do, to help our community and our neighbors make it through this crisis. Thank you!
Previous Letter from President & CEO Tony Howard – March 9, 2020
Dear members of the Loudoun Chamber community:
By now, you are likely well aware of the global coronavirus outbreak and the potential threat it poses to Virginia and Loudoun County. But you may have questions about the work that our national, state and local public health officials and government leaders are doing to help prepare for and respond to this outbreak.
I have received some very important and timely information from the Loudoun County Department of Health that I am sharing with you, in hopes that it will help keep your employees, customers and families safe, and your business operating, during this public health situation.
First, you may wish to watch the comprehensive briefing on the county’s preparation and response efforts to the global coronavirus outbreak that the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will receive next Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Loudoun County Government Center in Leesburg. The public is invited to attend, or you can watch it on Comcast Government TV Channel 23, Open Band Channel 40 and Verizon FiOS Channel 40, or online at loudoun.gov/webcast.
Loudoun County Director of Health Dr. David Goodfriend will brief the Board on the novel coronavirus that causes the disease known as COVID-19, and the County’s efforts to mitigate the infection’s impact in our community. Several of Loudoun’s regional, state and federal partners will join the briefing, including representatives of Loudoun’s hospitals and the County Office of Emergency Management. As outlined in the county’s Pandemic Response Plan, these efforts include monitoring travelers, educating the public, collaborating with health care providers, and working with schools on the appropriate protocols.
Currently, there are a small number of reported cases of COVID-19 in Virginia. The health department recommends these proven actions that everyone can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; or cough or sneeze into the sleeve of your shirt.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommends that facemasks be worn to protect against respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should only be used by those who show symptoms of COVID-19 and by health workers.
For more information about how you can avoid contact with the coronavirus and protect against its spread, please visit these Loudoun County Health Department resources:
- Preparing Your Business for a Pandemic: https://www.loudoun.gov/DocumentCenter/View/178/PREPARING-YOUR-BUSINESS-FOR-A-PANDEMIC?bidId=
- Coronavirus Information: https://www.loudoun.gov/5307/Coronavirus
Please share this information with your employees and anyone else that you believe will benefit from it.
Thank you and be well!
President & CEO, Loudoun Chamber of Commerce