New Normal?

July 17, 2020Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

I don’t know if you know this, but since this pandemic started, I’ve spent on average 35 hours per week listening and talking to members of the business community.

And that’s just me. That’s not including the hours my team spends listening and discussing what keeps you up at night, what your biggest obstacles are, or how you’re managing this challenging, fluid environment.

Please don’t take this as me complaining – I’m not. These conversations are important. They’re part of why I’m excited to get up every day and go to work on behalf of the business community.

I love hearing from our partners. And, these conversations help my team and me stay on top of the pulse of the business community.

From these conversations, we’re able to collectively share the voice of our Abilene businesses to local, state, and federal leaders.

And in those conversations over the last couple of weeks, the phrase “new normal” has been said over and over again. I’ve listened to our members discuss ways of getting back to whatever “normal” is, read articles about “new normal in the workplace” and discussed with our team ways we can still manage our events and programs while being mindful of the health of everyone involved.

But, will we ever get back to whatever “normal” was?

Some experts say not until we have a vaccine while others say the way we conduct and do business will never be the same again.

In my mind, those experts aren’t wrong. This has changed and shaped the business environment across the country in a way that we won’t see the true impact of for years to come.

However, does that mean that we can’t resume business, events and programs to try and advance some sort of “normalcy?”

With proper protocol we think it’s possible.

We know that you’re eager to get out and market your business so that’s why as of today, with added precautions and protocols in place, your chamber is continuing the rescheduled date of our renowned Business Expo on Aug. 19 sponsored by our good friends at Lawrence Hall – Abilene, Pest Patrol and Black Plumbing.

We’ll continue to closely monitor the situation and work closely with the Convention Center and local government to ensure we’re taking the best possible precautions so that you feel the most comfortable as an exhibitor or attendee. Here are a few of the measures our team will put into action:

  • We’re limiting the entrance of the event to just one area so proper temperature checks and hand sanitation can take place before anyone enters the building.
  • To protect your health and the health of others, masks will be required and will be on-hand for those who do not have one.  We know that not all will feel the comfortable in a mask all day, but in order to get back to some sort of “normalcy” it’s a step we feel that we need to take to help ensure you remain healthy.
  • Thanks to our friends at ChemStation, we’ll have multiple hand sanitizing stations throughout the facility.
  • Unsure of if the person you’re wanting to visit with is physically distancing? We’ll have colored bracelets on-hand to help you communicate to those around you which measures you are practicing. A red will mean no contact, yellow elbows only while still being cautious, blue hi-five and handshakes with frequent sanitizing.
  • We’re boosting up our signage throughout the building to help remind everyone in attendance of proper public health guidelines.

Protecting the health and safety of everyone at our events is a shared responsibility and we know you as our valued partner stand ready to do your part.

Let’s take more steps toward recovery – together.



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