Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism President Brad Meier offered an update Friday on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the local business community and what can be done to make it through this challenging time. His Facebook message can be seen here.

Meier said the Small Business Administration will be offering low interest loans to help businesses with expenses and payrolls. He said residential home builders are getting an extension on their licensing. Also the IRS is extending the tax deadline to July 15, 2020. Meier said is beneficial for many businesses. Meier said the state of Minnesota had not announced a similar delay yet, although he is hopefully that the state will.

He relayed a message from the Mayo Clinic regarding health screening. Concerned citizens need to call ahead to arrange for a coronavirus test. Healthcare providers had the same message during an update presented to the Owatonna City Council on Tuesday.

Meier says the Tool Kit on the Owatonna Chamber website has some marketing ideas for local business. The site also lists which local restaurants are open with carry out or delivery service during this time that dine-in options have been shutdown.

Bankers Todd Trout from US Bank and Andy Cowell from Profinium joined Meier on the Facebook message. Trout said businesses should reach out to financial partners in an effort to stay ahead of problems. Cowell says there is a good flow of money available from banks and the federal government is assisting and backing local banks.