Opinion

Kilkenny Chamber in the fight against Covid 19

Kilkenny Chamber CEO John Hurley on some advice, and upcoming events as the local chamber is supporting local business in every possible way during the pandemic

John Hurley

Reporter:

John Hurley

Kilkenny Chamber in the fight against Covid 19

John Hurley

It is almost business as usual for Kilkenny Chamber, whereby staff are working from home since the middle of March. We continue to provide our full range of services including publishing our weekly Newsletter, administering the Kilkenny Gift Voucher Scheme and providing Certificates of Origin for exporters.

Our lobbying activities have increased exponentially since the start of the crisis and we are engaged in almost daily conference calls and meetings with the Department of the Taoiseach and senior Government Officials. The Government relies on us to be their eyes and ears on the ground and feedback to them on what is happening for people and their businesses at the front line. This line of communication has proven to be invaluable as Government is tasked with providing remedies and supports with great urgency and speed. This work of advising and informing Government is continuing and Chambers have weekly dialogues with Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
Information for businesses:
As a membership organisation the Chamber also has an important role in supporting businesses in this challenging time by providing information on the various schemes and initiatives that have been made available through agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices, Revenue Commissioners, Banks and others. Valuable links to other relevant sites are available on the Chamber website www.kilkennychamber.ie
In response to the pandemic many businesses have diversified and changed from their usual ways of working. For example, Lorimat Jewellers in Kilkenny recently introduced the concept of home try-on rings via their online shop thus enabling customers to continue to avail of their services despite the Covid lockdown. Likewise, Ballykeefe Distillery and Highbank Orchard & Distillery are producing hand sanitisers in response to current demands. The HSE has pointed out that it is not sustainable for Ireland to continue to rely on remote locations like China for its PPE supplies and is calling for Irish businesses capable of producing Personal Protection Equipment to let them know.
Are you operating your business in a different way? Would your business be capable of answering the HSE’s call? Kilkenny Chamber is interested in hearing about all such innovative approaches and will help promote and spread the message about your new way of doing business in these trying times. You can contact us by phone on 056-775 2767 or email admin@kilkennychamber.ie
Plan now for reopening
The Chamber is very conscious that whilst there is great uncertainty surrounding the virus, the time will come when the economy reopens and now is the time to plan and prepare for that. The likelihood is that when this reopening occurs, it will be on a phased basis with ongoing restrictions and social distancing requirements. Business owners need to consider what changes they must introduce in their workplaces to ensure that both their employees and their customers can safely engage. We have seen supermarkets and pharmacies using combinations of signage, perspex screens, sanitisers, face masks, etc. and, acknowledging that every business is different, it is vital that every business owner creates their own suite of solutions for their own workplaces accordingly.


Of course, Chambers are synonymous with holding events and networking and these activities have been curtailed by the Covid lockdown. However, Kilkenny Chamber has moved these services online and is scheduled to hold its  Chamber Chats via Zoom online  on Thursdays. This is a free event and is open to both members and non-members and is a great way to network and keep in contact with other businesses in our community. The Chamber Chat will start at 1pm. Participants will be able to ask questions and engage in an online “chat”. You are asked to contact the Chamber   by phone or email if you would like to join these meetings.
We’re in this together
Kilkenny Chamber recognises that this pandemic is a hugely challenging time for everyone. Kilkenny is full of nimble, adaptable and innovative SME’s which make up the backbone of the economy. If we work together and support each other, we will come out the other end an even stronger and better Kilkenny than ever before.
Kilkenny Chamber is online at www.kilkennychamber.ie