The East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance has sent a set of recommendations on reopening the economy to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

The Arizona business group, which has more than 5,000 members across 8 East Valley chambers of commerce, is also worried about a significant number of small businesses being turned down for Small Business Administration grants and loans and other assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its memo to Ducey, the East Valley business group outlined series of benchmarks and a timetable for reopening businesses, workplaces and eventually schools.

The recommendations call for a phased in reopening of the economy starting May 15 with school reopening after July 1st. Those are based on meeting public health benchmarks.

“Businesses are looking for clarity and definitions to help them as they begin planning to reopen,” said Kathy Tilque, Gilbert Chamber of Commerce President and CEO and EVCCA Legislative Committee chair. “While the dates proposed in the memo may not be implemented due to the metrics needed to ensure employees and customers are safe, they represent a movement to identify the rules and guidelines for a phased-in approach of re-opening our economy.”

Tilque said a significant number of East Valley small businesses have been turned down for U.S. Small Business Administration loans as well as other assistance. She is concerned many of those businesses will not survive.

 “The majority of businesses cannot weather this crisis through the end of June which is why developing a clear, concise, and safe plan now is critical,” Tilque said  “The federal government’s programs are much appreciated, but the reality is that if the money received has to be used now while the business is closed, there will be no money to pay employees when their doors open if we wait until after June.”

Full Memo:

TO: Governor Doug Ducey
FROM: East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance DATE: April 24, 2020
RE: Recovery and Re-energizing the Economy
Governor Ducey,

On behalf of the East Valley Chambers of Commerce (EVCCA) representing more than 5,000 businesses from the communities of Apache Junction, Carefree Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Tempe, we’d like to provide recommendations regarding the reopening of businesses to begin the recovery and re-energizing of the Arizona economy. Safety and health are of top concern for the EVCCA which is why we are starting with the CDC recommendations.

We want to thank you, Governor Ducey, for reaching out to the business community to solicit ideas and suggestions for what the landscape looks like as we re-open our economy. The following recommendations are provided in the spirit of suggestions for you to consider as you embark on this important decision of re-opening businesses. First and foremost, we want to stress that while we are providing dates for your consideration the thought process is that by identifying a potential date for Phase I re-opening, the State can begin identifying the metrics, CDC data, and overall health precautions needed to compare with that date. By doing so, we get closer to defining next steps. Our businesses need clarity, they need a date to begin ramping up their business models, and they need clear guidelines to ensure their customers and employees are provided a safe environment.


We are supportive of the CDC employer recommendations (Opening Up America Again) for the three- phase approach to reopening businesses and we have added a few additional clarifications that need to be addressed. It is extremely important that the business community receives clear and direct guidance on reopening. You will note our additions in red below:

Phase I Employers
• Encourage Telework
• Return to work in phases beginning with up to 50% of the business location workforce the first
two weeks with specific physical distancing protocols in place
• Close common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact or enforce strict physical distancing
• Special accommodations for personnel who are members of vulnerable population
• Specific industries
o Retail stores – implement physical distancing for customers/employees and implement
masks for employees along with sanitizing protocols. One option for businesses to
consider may be to install sneeze guards at their discretion.
o Personal services (hair and nail salons, massage therapy, tattoo, etc.) – all employees
must wear masks along with heightened sanitizing protocols and provide physical
distancing options for customers waiting
o Schools/organized youth activities/daycare – remain closed
o Visits to senior living/hospitals – prohibited
o Large venues (sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, church) – strict physical
distancing and sanitizing protocols
o Gyms – strict physical distancing/sanitation protocols o Bars – remain closed

Phase 2 Employers
• Encourage Telework – whenever possible
• Common areas – close or moderate physical distancing protocols
• Vulnerable Populations – special accommodations
• Specific industries
o Retail stores – continue physical distancing for customers/employees and sanitizing protocols
o Personal services (hair and nail salons, massage therapy, tattoo, etc.) – all employees must wear masks and heightened sanitizing protocols in place, and provide physical distancing options for customers waiting
o Schools – remain closed
o Organized youth activities/daycare – can reopen with strict distancing and sanitizing
o Visits to senior living/hospitals – prohibited
o Large venues (sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, church) – strict physical
distancing protocols
o Gyms – strict physical/sanitation protocols
o Bars – open with diminished standing-room occupancy, where applicable and appropriate

Phase 3 Employers
• Unrestricted staffing of worksites
• Schools – remain closed
• Specific industries
o Visits to senior living/hospitals – prohibited
o Large venues (sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, church) – strict physical
distancing protocols
o Gyms – strict sanitation protocols
o Bars – open with increased standing-room occupancy

Based on re-entry of 50% of workers during Phase I, and current modeling projections and CDC metrics, we believe the following dates for phasing in our recovery plan are achievable:
• Phase I – May 15th
• Phase II – June 1st
• Phase III – June 15th
• Schools – open after July 1st

The following issues must be defined, and a clear direction established:
• National Industry Standards for employer workplace protections should be used to provide
consistent guidelines
• Liability protection options identified and defined for businesses as they open

After researching national models for states providing funding to assist small businesses, we feel two direct Small Business Relief Programs should be established. The first is the funding of chambers of commerce — if chambers are allowed to go under, it will seriously delay the economy’s ability to recover, especially on Main Street Arizona. In addition to being privately funded, local chambers of commerce have been left out of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and have had little to no response from banks for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) or line of credit options. As you can imagine, when businesses cannot pay their payroll, rent or utilities, they are not investing in the chamber. Meanwhile, chambers are selflessly working seven days a week to assist companies with opportunities to save their business, all the while dealing with the same issues as our members of furloughs, pay cuts, retooling business plans, etc. Chambers are the local go-to organization in each city within Arizona. Funding chambers is the best business retention investment the State can make.

Funding of Arizona chambers of commerce 501(c)(6)
o $4M grants
o Support chambers of commerce business and community recovery plans o $20,00 – $60,000 per chamber
o Report of use of funds within 180 days of receipt
Small Businesses
o $10M Loans
o Under 20 employees for all locations o Did not qualify for PPP or EIDL
o COVID-19 impacted

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback during this critical time of recovery. We are willing to serve in any discussion regarding these four recommendations or others as we move our State forward. Please contact Kathy Tilque, EVCCA Legislative Chair, at 480-892-1103 or to coordinate conversations with the EVCCA.

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April 2020