PORT ANGELES — Clallam County is considering a fund for a marketing campaign to support local businesses during the coronavirus outbreak, the three commissioners agreed Monday.
Colleen McAleer, Clallam County Economic Development Corp. executive director, requested $40,000 for the EDC to hire a consultant who will oversee a “Clallam Conquers Corona” social media campaign, a shop-locally advertising blitz and other efforts to help businesses and nonprofits whether the impacts of COVID-19.
“It sounds to me like the commissioners are supportive of moving in this direction,” Board Chairman Mark Ozias said in a Monday work session.
“Our goal will be to understand exactly what we can do to support the economic resiliency of our community.”
Ozias requested from the EDC a scope of work and cost analysis for the four-month coronavirus project, a supplement to the county’s existing contract with the EDC.
McAleer, who also is a Port of Port Angeles commissioner, said she fielded nearly 30 phone calls from local business owners over the weekend, many of whom were “honestly in a panic” over the impacts of the coronavirus.
“We need businesses to fill out surveys,” McAleer said.
Businesses owners are encouraged to take a COVID-19 economic impact survey on the EDC’s web site, www.clallam.org.
Commissioner Randy Johnson said he shared the concerns of business owners.
“I’m starting to get more and more concerned because I think (as a business owner) oh my goodness, my reserves are X, and that’s two weeks and them I’m gone,” Johnson said.
“So here we go.”
Ozias said he would work to ensure that the EDC’s efforts are coordinated with the county’s COVID-19 incident command team.
Meanwhile, commissioners are expected to make an emergency declaration for the COVID-19 outbreak at their meeting today.
“The message around the declaration is not that things have changed dramatically on the ground,” Ozias said.
“They’ll just continue to evolve.”
Ozias said the emergency declaration would give the county the flexibility to spend money sooner than the normal procedure allows.
“This is a bit of an oversimplification, but in essence, normally we do process first and spend the money second,” Ozias said.
“Given an emergency declaration, within certain parameters, we just reverse that. We’re able to spend money first and then do the process second. That’s a pretty easy way to help people understand it.”
The commissioners’ meeting was moved from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. today to accommodate the daily coronavirus briefing in the commissioners’ meeting room.
Both meetings will be broadcast and archived on the county’s web page, www.clallam.net.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].