It's a balancing act and Paul Rumler is in the middle of the ring.
How do we reopen the Quad Cities economy when the COVID-19 Pandemic is impacting two states in two very different ways? Iowa could ease restrictions in our area in as little as two days, while Illinois' stay at home order remains in effect for at least 18 more days.
The President and CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber, Paul Rumler, appeared live on Good Morning Quad Cities on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. He said businesses in our region are ready for the next step:
"For the last 9 weeks, we’ve had a lot of businesses doing their part. A lot of them were essential workers and companies and they’re adjusting on the fly. Then over the last few weeks, there’s been this growing frustration because businesses are looking at the social distancing policies and protocols that they need to be putting into place. Many of them have already put those protocols into place and now they’re anxious to reopen. They’ve been seeing the impact to their employees and to their own businesses and they’re concerned about their future so what they’re most looking forward to is some sort of clarity as to what reopening looks like and when they can get planning for."
Because there's a chance one side of our region could open earlier than the other, the Quad Cities Chamber wrote a letter to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritkzer - explaining what's importance to our bi-state community:
"We’re asking for consistent guidelines, we’re asking for timely reopening, we’re asking for additional businesses to be considered - like restaurants and bars - to be reopened sooner, even with some type of restrictions in place. We’re also asking for some help in providing PPE to businesses that are struggling to get it and we need more testing. Those letters have both been received by the Governors. We wanted to make sure that the Quad Cities Region was on the record so that way as both Governors are looking at their restrictions and what their timelines were to reopen that they understood what the impact would be here in the Quad Cities Area."
Rumler said the Chamber has a call with the state of Iowa tomorrow/Thursday, May 14, 2020. No word yet from the state of Illinois, except for confirmation that they received the letter.
In the meantime, Rumler said the Chamber is working hard to help businesses survive and thrive during these uncertain times:
"I want businesses to know that we’re out there advocating on their behalf, making sure if they have a question they can contact us, whether they’re a member or not. Our team has pivoted over the last several weeks to make sure we’re providing one-on-one assistance. We’re available in person - at least by phone or email - and we have great resources available on our website to help guide them through any of their situations. We’re putting on some great events and webinars for free right now, so any business that needs help, the Quad Cities Chamber is there for them."
Rumler also appeared on This Week with News 8's Jim Mertens on Sunday, May 10, 2020. To see that interview and look at the resources the Chamber is providing for businesses, click here.