by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (July 9, 2020) – March 11 seems like a long time ago—that was the date of the last in-person gathering of the Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce. Only two days previous, on March 9, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker had declared a state of emergency because of COVID-19, and people were still figuring out what that meant. March 11 was also the day the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, and the NBA suspended its season, the first major sport to do so.
(See more details of those early COVID days in the Lansing COVID-19 timeline published on April 11.)
In a normal year, the Lansing Area Chamber hosts a member event every month—either an informational luncheon or an after-hours networking event. In addition, the Chamber typically hosts a Business Expo, the Good Neighbor Day Parade, and a golf outing—all of which were canceled or rescheduled this year.
When the invitation went out for the July 8 Business After Hours, Chamber Director Amy Todd was not sure what kind of response it would get. Members represent a variety of businesses and a range of reactions to the virus and the precautions. Following state guidelines, attendance was capped at 50, and the event was hosted by Waters Edge, which offers both indoor and outdoor space and plenty of room for social distancing.
Approximately 35 people RSVPed, and the two-hour function included long-time local businesses as well as newcomers. Dr. Sophia Jones-Redmond, the newly appointed Superintendent of District 215, attended and made connections. And La Kisha Franklin, owner of Music Mines, which hasn’t even been able to open yet, was happy to have an opportunity to meet people and explain the services she and her family will be providing for the community.
Other than a few COVID-related modifications—masks, individually packaged refreshments, and personal space awareness—the first post-quarantine Chamber event felt very much like business as usual in Lansing.
The Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce is located at 18155 Roy Street in Lansing. Call 708-474-4170 for more information about membership and services.
- Five things most people don’t know about the Lansing Area Chamber (February 2019 article)
- chamberoflansing.com (Chamber website)