The COVID-19 pandemic has unquestionably impacted us all, but for small businesses, in many cases, it has been fatal. It has also had a disparate impact on Hispanic-owned small businesses and those that serve the Hispanic community and employ its members. The precautions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and determination of “essential” businesses economically crippled small local businesses, an impact from which many will not recover. The Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce supports fair safety measures that recognize the urgent need to both keep our community healthy and help small businesses recover and survive.
When Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued her stay-at-home order, the Hispano Chamber immediately mobilized all its resources to help small businesses weather the storm. We started the #HispanoHelps initiative, compiling and informing small businesses of available resources from the state, local and federal government agencies including new programs and emergency funding options. Through generous partnerships with other nonprofit organizations and industry leaders such as SQUARE Inc., New Mexico Mutual and Comcast we are providing a series of webinars to assist small businesses with navigating the ever-changing programs and rules and regulations.
This Hispano Chamber and its members are committed to helping our health care workers. Through the #HispanoHelps initiative, we support front-line health care workers, partnering with Twisters Burgers and Burritos, Central Grill and Coffee House, La Mexicana, New Mexico’s CW, KRQE Media Group, Duke City Gladiators and PepsiCo to “Feed the Frontlines,” providing daily meals to first responders. The meals are discounted and paid for by our members throughout the community. Our member Rainbow Riders has committed to “Fly the Frontlines” by providing a balloon ride to a first responder each week. We have partnered with National Material Company to provide masks to Native American Professional Parent Resources and Southwest Native American Veterans Association to distribute to families and Native American veterans.
As part of our #ReadytoOpen#OpenTogether campaign, the Hispano Chamber and our member Sombra Professional Therapy Products, together with the leadership of Albuquerque City Councilor Klarissa Peña, will be providing personal protection equipment including masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to approximately 1,000 local small businesses so they can open and operate safely for their employees and customers. These efforts and partnerships demonstrate not only our dedication, but more importantly that our members give back to those risking their lives to keep us safe and healthy and support community and businesses.
The Hispano Chamber’s motto is Join, Connect, Thrive. Never has there been a time when this has been more appropriate. We will continue to join people together to help the community and small businesses, connect them to resources and not only survive the economic impacts of COVID-19 but thrive in the future. We ask that our government officials join us and help small businesses by trusting in their inherent entrepreneurial innovation and commitment to community and allow them to operate in a safe and cautious way. Just as big-box stores have led the way, we now need to empower small and medium businesses to join in the economic recovery. These business owners are concerned about the health and well-being of our community; it is time to trust them to recover the health of our economy. Only together will we keep each other safe and prosper.