Small businesses are facing tough times as the coronavirus numbers grow across the nation.

The Alexander City Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Ed Collari said the chamber is committed to helping local businesses the best it can during these trying times.

“Obviously it is going to be a struggle for everyone,” Collari said. “You worry about small business as traffic will be very low. Our focus is trying to help the businesses we have stay afloat. I just hope it doesn’t last long and business owners have a reserve to last.”

Collari said business owners will not be the only ones affected and owners will have to make adjustments just like employees.

“They are having to alter what they do,” Collari said. “It will impact them. Not only in the hours they will be able to work but their paychecks will be smaller.”

To help business owners and employees the chamber has posted links to a large number of resources on its website. The information and links cover U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Assistance, unemployment and others specific to certain types of businesses.

The Alabama Department of Revenue has announced changes to help businesses. It announced certain businesses are able to file their monthly sales tax returns for February, March and April without paying the state sales tax reported as due. Late payment penalties will be waived through June 1.

The Alabama Department of Labor announced it is changing unemployment compensation rules so people who are sick, caring for someone who is or laid off temporarily, can file a claim.

The Department of Labor outlines that if people are getting paid to work from home or receiving sick or vacation leave, they are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Until things start to recover, Collari said the chamber’s main focus will be on supporting businesses in Alexander City. With that mission, a few will think the chamber isn’t promoting growth. Collari said with this current business environment affecting every state, most businesses are not focused on growth so it will focus on keeping what is here.

“Their focus is on their current operation,” Collari said. “Those who were looking to grow are taking a hit too. It’s a trying time. We are going to focus on our small businesses to help get them through this difficult time.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.