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Coronavirus and the Kennebunks


Ours is a changing world.

With the news of COVID-19, the coronavirus, changing moment by moment, it’s hard to keep up. The NBA has gone dark. So has Broadway. Kids across America are coming home from college, their semesters at school over or broadcast online.
Here in the Kennebunks, life is changing, too. Meetings have been cancelled, some businesses have moved to working from home, schools have closed, and all of us are taking precautions where we can.

Here at the Chamber, we’re making some of those changes, too, but our mission remains the same: serving our local businesses and the community.

We can’t panic, but we can prepare. And we can begin taking some common sense steps toward keeping the community, and our employees, safer.

· This week’s After Hours at The Burleigh is canceled. We will be reassessing each and every event moving forward, and deciding whether or not to move forward on a case by case, day by day basis.

· Our Retired Workers Job Fair set for April 7 at the Park Street School Apartments is canceled, as we don’t want to put this at-risk segment of our population in harm’s way. Instead, we are creating a virtual job fair to connect prospective employers with employees. Stay tuned for details.

· We are going to postpone our Driven Women event, scheduled for April 14, until the fall. This gathering of more than 100 women is very popular, but brings together a large number of people in an enclosed space. We have decided to reschedule for October at On the Marsh, and will send out more details in the weeks ahead.

· Our April After Hours at Atria will be canceled out of an abundance of caution. The Atria population is among the most vulnerable in the community, and we have no desire to bring any issues to their doorstep. Good news, though: Atria will host the October After Hours, which is sure to be wonderful.

· We will keep our Little Pantry, located on the front porch of our building at 16 Water St., as fully stocked as possible for those who might need a little help. Please remember, too, that town general assistance offices and Community Outreach Services are wonderful options for those in need of larger, sustained help of all kinds.

Local businesses can be of great help to us at times like this. Restaurants and other eateries offer hot, nourishing meals with take-out options. Bookstores are great sources for good reading to pass the time. Banks can assist with special loan funds.

I could go on, but know that helping to support local businesses, while always important, is crucial at a time like this. These same businesses, as one so eloquently put it, are the ones supporting our kids’ fundraisers, the ones where we gather with friends, where the workers know our names. We need them to be around not only next week or next month, but for years to come. Let’s support them, where we are able, to get them through this time.

If you want to support a local business, but maybe belong to an at-risk part of the population, you can purchase a gift certificate now to be used later. You can also pay for memberships at the gym, museums and other nonprofit organizations in advance. Steps like that will enable local businesses and organizations to keep paying their staffs – your friends and family members – and keep them viable in our community.

I’m sure we’ll be sharing more information in the days and weeks ahead. For now:

Stay calm.
Stay informed.
Support your neighbors.
And let’s all look forward to better times ahead.
Laura Dolce
Executive Director