Wednesday, April 1st, The Wyoming Business & Industry Federation hosted a webinar featuring guest speaker, Congresswoman Liz Cheney.
Throughout the webinar, Cheney addressed the challenges of COVID-19 and shared federal and local actions that will help communities during these turbulent times.
Cheney emphasized the importance of practicing social distancing and staying at home to slow the spread of the virus as much as possible.
"When you see how this virus has spread around the world, places can go from feeling like they don't have any problem at all, from having very few people hospitalized, to suddenly having an explosion" said Cheney.
The recent decision to extend social distancing practices by 30 days not only helps slow the spread, but protects health care providers and first responders as they care for our people.
"Right now, we're in good shape for the State, but we need to stay in a position where everyone who needs care can get care."
"As a result, doctors have recommended we do everything we can to maintain social distancing across the board - even in places in Wyoming where we do not have the same spread."
During the webinar, supply chain issues surrounding health care were also addressed.
Cheney explained there is a direct link between having a test that delivers fast results, and the amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) hospitals need. If an individual with symptoms tests negative for COVID-19, PPE can be saved for future use. It will be important that Wyoming receives advanced testing capabilities to ensure PPE is preserved.
Up until very recently, the United States Department of State was shipping PPE supplies to other countries.
"It is very important for us to make sure we are helping our allies, but we need to make sure we have enough for ourselves first" she said.
She thanked the private sector for their role in donating PPE to healthcare workers across the nation.
Cheney was also asked if she supported Governor Gordon's handling of the outbreak. The state has avoided a lock-down despite an increase in COVID-19 cases.
She explained that she is supportive of Gordon's handling of the issue and knows he is monitoring the situation very closely. The State will continue to assess community needs on a daily basis.
"There is a lot of work being done to help make sure we are minimizing the real pain people are feeling across the State - with respect to the economy, job losses, and parents who need to stay at home."
Cheney also addressed the challenges small businesses are facing as a result of the pandemic.
"This is an absolutely devastating situation. I have talked to small business owners across the state and I don't think anybody who is alive today has lived though anything like this, from the economic or public health perspective" she said.
"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. We have tried to provide a safety net through the CARES Act to encourage businesses to keep people on payroll."
Cheney explained that local lending institutions will play a large role in delivering resources, such as business loans, to organizations that need them most. These institutions have streamlined their processes to ensure relief is as accessible as possible.
"We are with you, we know what everyone is going though, and want to help you navigate this time."
In Cheney's closing remarks, she thanked the Wyoming Business & Industry Federation for hosting the call as well as participants from across the state for joining.
The Wyoming Business & Industry Federation is a broad-based business association empowering local community and economic advancement through advocacy strength.
Federation members include Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, Casper Chamber of Commerce, Cody Chamber of Commerce, Lander Chamber of Commerce, Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce, Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce, and Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce.