Chamber President: Business as Usual? No. But Albany Fundamentally Open for Business

Bárbara Rivera Holmes

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

We are in an unprecedented time. And it is during difficult times, especially, that unity, leadership, advocacy and stability are most critical. Throughout our 110-year history, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has provided these pillars of support to businesses and to the Albany area community. Like many businesses, we took steps to ensure operational continuity; we haven’t stopped working for our businesses nor our community.

COVID-19 is causing increasing disruptions to everyday life and to our local, national and global economies. We face the prospect of broader impacts on local businesses and workers as the epidemic expands. Our focus is supporting public health recommendations to flatten the curve of the virus; informing and supporting the business community through relevant resources, programming and information; and planning for what may be far-reaching economic impact.

The Albany Area Chamber is an active member of the Albany-Dougherty COVID-19 Task Force, working with local, state and health officials and elected leaders, assisting our health care systems, first responders and emergency medical personnel in doing their jobs consistently and effectively. We must continue to work together and take action to flatten the curve of the virus, reduce the public health risk and minimize the long-term economic impact. I encourage the leadership of our neighboring communities to take the same necessary steps.

The business community has been a leader through this highly dynamic situation, proactively modifying how they do business in an effort to protect the health of the public and of their work force and to ensure delivery of goods and services. I am incredibly proud of the actions taken by our chamber member organizations, many of which are being immediately and directly impacted. I am equally encouraged by the outpouring of support being shown to our small businesses.

Is it business as usual? No. But Albany remains fundamentally open for business.

Our community benefits from a strong and diversified economy, and our economic stability depends on the ability of production to continue and of commerce to flow. It’s imperative that we continue to support our businesses. Take advantage of their delivery, take-out and drive-through services; purchase gift cards for later use; maintain your memberships and subscriptions; utilize their services; check in on them; stay engaged with them through social media. Shopping local has an exponentially positive impact on the economy and now, more than at any time in recent history, we must support our local businesses. Our nonprofit and cultural organizations, tourism attractions, our churches – these are all impacted, too, and need our support. #SmallBusinessBIgHearts – we’ve launched this and hope you’ll engage via our social media platforms.

The Albany Area Chamber’s dedicated COVID-19 Resource Center at provides business assistance information along with updates. Our business impact survey will help us assess to what extent the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has affected area business operations, inform our programs and our advocacy of policies, resources and aid. The survey can be accessed at and on our social media pages.

The times are uncertain; the Albany Area Chamber’s commitment to the health of our citizens, our businesses and our economy is not.