Home News COVID-19 Situation EDC plans to help businesses amid virus

EDC plans to help businesses amid virus

Bud Kunkel and other members of the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp. discuss ways to help local businesses function during the COVID-19 situation. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp. wants to help local businesses and industry thrive in spite of the challenges represented by the COVID-19 situation, so it plans to become a clearinghouse for business-related information, assistance and ideas.

Members of the group’s executive committee met Monday afternoon to talk about the impacts that the pandemic is having or could have on businesses.

Some present talked about how their businesses are allowing people to work from home or instituting flexible work schedules or operating hours as a way to slow or stop the spread of the new strain of coronavirus.

Some members also talked about how area companies are facing two financial pressures at the same time.

The fall in oil and gas prices, caused in large part by higher petroleum production by OPEC nations, is already leading to layoffs in the Permian Basin and being felt by companies that supply the oilfield. Two people said this situation could represent the more serious issue for the area.

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The second cause is the coronavirus situation, which also has led to lower crude prices and has had large ripple effects throughout the U.S. economy and stock and bond markets. National, state and local orders have closed schools, banned large public gatherings and required restaurants, bars and others to limit the number of people in their buildings. Some retailers are also changing their hours.

Bud Kunkel, president of the RCCEDC, said he thinks the economic development group can help funnel information about funding assistance, business support and guidance for local employers and business operators.

“The EDC could hopefully become a clearinghouse for that sort of thing,” he said.

At this time, the group has placed several links on its website for loan assistance and business advising programs offered by the New Mexico Economic Development Department, the U.S. Small Business Administration and local business assistance groups. The RCCEDC website is at chavescounty.net.

In the near future, Kunkel said the group intends to add suggestions, assistance programs and ideas forwarded from the local business community, as well as any additional information provided by federal, state or local government agencies.

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