- Special Counsel
In recent weeks, we’ve witnessed countless instances of individuals and organizations stepping up to meet the burdens that the coronavirus pandemic has placed on all West Virginians. Now, several business organizations are looking to get a clearer picture of the significant economic impact that has befallen the state.
The West Virginia Association of Regional Councils (WVARC) has partnered with the West Virginia Development Office, the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce in an effort to maximize stimulus funds for West Virginia in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. To do so, the organizations are collecting data on the impact of business closures and accommodations to better understand recovery needs statewide and to assist the public with locating restaurants, pharmacies and other businesses that are still providing services in the midst of mandatory closures.
As part of the partnership, WVARC will be utilizing a combination of polling efforts and Geographic Information System (“GIS”) mapping to quantify the COVID-19 economic impact. That data will be analyzed by the Regional Councils to fully understand the true economic impact of COVID-19. Once completed, the data will be released to the public and utilized to maximize public relief efforts.
West Virginia businesses are encouraged to participate in two separate surveys from WVARC:
The first seeks to identify business locations and amended operations in order to provide the public with mapped information regarding hours of operation, services provided, etc. As part of this survey process, members of the public will be able to visit an interactive map to learn more about businesses operating in their region. The second survey seeks to gauge the economic impact that COVID-19 has had on West Virginia businesses, and asks employers more than a dozens of questions of the “ground-level effects” the stay-at-home order and business closures have had.
Meanwhile, the West Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association (WVHTA) is also seeking input from hospitality and travel-related businesses as West Virginia seeks to develop a plan for reopening in the coming days and weeks.
The WVHTA survey – which can be found here – seeks to provide feedback to state policymakers when considering what a reopening of the economy may look like. As part of the survey, businesses are asked how much notice they will require to reopen, what access to PPE they may need and what sort of occupancy and social distancing guidelines they would best be able to operate under.
These surveys will provide critical data and feedback as West Virginia looks to rebound from the effects of COVID-19. We encourage all businesses to take a brief moment of their time to participate in all three surveys.