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From The President: The Crisis of 2020

These are unprecedented times. In many of our lifetimes, we have not only heard these words before, but we have also lived through them. The civil unrest of the late 1960s. The stagflation of the late 1970s. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Great Recession of 2008-2009. All life-altering experiences. The COVID-19 crisis of 2020 is yet another.

All these crises share similar traits. First, they are called a crisis for a reason. The threat posed, the disruption that ensues, the cost that is paid, and the trauma that is inflected are very real. Second, the impact on our society – how we think and act moving forward – is forever altered in some meaningful way. Third, and this is important, not only do we recover from them, we emerge smarter and stronger. Important lessons are learned. True colors are shown.

This is, of course, of little comfort to a small business struggling to meet payroll as customers shelter in place. Not helpful to the business that has been mandated to close. Nor is it any solace for the independent professional worker who is idle as companies and families freeze expenditures. There is no escaping that many businesses and individuals will be severely impacted by this current crisis.

The Detroit Regional Chamber is prepared to play its historic and critical role during this crisis; providing timely, useful and factual information to the business community. Already, in the early days as the crisis unfolded, the Chamber was communicating with members:

  • Facts vs. myths regarding COVID-19
  • Recommended methods for keeping your employees and workplace safe
  • Resources available from local, state, and national governments and other entities
  • The latest actions and guidelines from governments and public health professionals
  • Specific resources for small businesses
  • Actions the Chamber has and will take to adapt operations and programs in light of the crisis

Moving forward, the Chamber will further accelerate providing news you can use to better navigate the crisis. By the time this issue arrives in your inbox, the Chamber’s COVID-19 Business Resource Center will be online and continually updated with important information. This will include resources to help your business weather the storm, best practices to consider for your operations and employees, the latest developments in the progression of the virus in Michigan, and specific information for our small businesses and automotive-related entities. Of course, you will continue to see information via our email and social media platforms as well.

Some things to keep in mind as we navigate this crisis together:

  • Don’t get tunnel focused on your news feed. The news is going to continue to get worse before it gets better. Your mental health is better served with liberal doses of the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.
  • Take this opportunity to enjoy time at home – reflect and plan for the other side of this crisis. And make up for all that time away from your pets.
  • As you are able, remember and try to assist the persons who provide you services who might be really struggling during this time; parking attendants, dog walkers, housekeepers, and the like. You’re going to need them when this is all over.
  • Reach out to your favorite small businesses and nonprofit organizations and see what you might be able to do to support them.
  • Thank those who are working in front-line positions who are putting themselves at risk; your pharmacists, grocery clerks, first responders, health care providers, and others.
  • Recognize that the best way for life (and our economy) to return to normal is to do what is necessary to flatten the curve – lower the peak number of cases and shorten the duration of this crisis. This is truly short-term pain for a longer-term gain.

Remember, we will get through this. We always do.

Sandy K. Baruah 

President and CEO, 

Detroit Regional Chamber 


Please note, the remainder of this issue of Detroiter was developed before the COVID-19 crisis.