by Karen Riordan, President & CEO Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC) serves two distinct purposes in our community. We exist to protect, promote and improve the business landscape of our area through education programs, networking opportunities and advocacy initiatives.
We’re also the official destination marketing organization for the Grand Strand, drawing visitors to our beautiful beach communities and ensuring our tourism industry remains strong through aggressive national advertising and sales initiatives. And when times of uncertainty affect our area, MBACC is there as a resource for our business and hospitality partners.
COVID-19 is an unprecedented event, different from past challenges we’ve faced because of the number of unknowns and the fluidity of the situation.
As a country we’ve watched our government react to slow the spread of the coronavirus. As a community we have watched our business partners look for ways to adjust operations to stay afloat as public health guidance has changed daily. In some instances, businesses have temporarily closed, furloughed or laid-off employees, or altered their hours drastically as we have all practiced social distancing and self-isolation.
Through it all, MBACC has worked to help our community navigate these difficult times. Here are a few examples of the work we’re doing to help Myrtle Beach businesses prepare and recover from the impact of COVID-19:
One of the most important roles in our organization is to keep the Myrtle Beach area top-of-mind with our legislators. We’ve been in constant communication with our leaders at the local, state and federal levels since before COVID-19 began to impact our community. And as we’ve watched the closures and cancellations of events, attractions, and restaurants, we’ve stepped up our efforts to ensure the tourism industry is included in federal and state relief packages.
There has been no shortage of information relating to COVID-19. Tax changes, business regulations, small business loans, tips for healthy hygiene, and so much more has been hitting our inboxes daily just like it has yours. We have taken that information, edited it down to the most important information you need for your business, and posted it regularly on our website, social channels, and in a daily email update to businesses to help them find what they need in a timely manner.
Throughout this pandemic our message has been to ask visitors to postpone trips, not cancel them, so when it is time to come back, we will be ready for them. We are assisting guests with requests for refunds or credits for future travel and supporting our lodging partners however we can. We halted our ad campaign and shifted to “Sharing some sunshine” on our social channels to bring a smile to guest’s faces during this difficult time.
We are also supporting our restaurant community as they labor to stay open through take-out and curbside services. Our marketing team is preparing a recovery plan to bring our visitors back, safely and strategically, once COVID-19 has passed.
We want to assure you that as your local chamber and convention and visitors bureau, we are here for the duration of this event with our team, working remotely every day to support our business community and our residents.
Your Chamber has stood as the unified voice of the Grand Strand’s business community since 1938. We have weathered many storms and faced significant challenges, including the events of 9/11 and devastating hurricanes and floods. We have no doubt that together our community will overcome this newest challenge.