Today, as Alabama addresses its first case of COVID-19, our state is thankful to have had ample time to prepare. The announcement comes on the heels of yesterday’s report from the Alabama legislature to quickly approve a supplemental appropriation bill which provides $5 million to the Alabama Department of Public Health for coronavirus preparedness and response activities.

Earlier this week, Alabama received more than $8.15 million in federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

This morning as our state’s businesses began bracing for fluid changes to the workforce and company climate, Mayor Randall Woodfin and Drew Langloh, CEO at the United Way of Central Alabama announced funds that have been made available to support small businesses and people in need during the crisis. Here are links to the funds:

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Also quickly moving into action, an Alabama-based commercial lab, Assurance Scientific Laboratories set-up two new drive-thru locations in Birmingham and Bessemer to accept samples to be tested for COVID-19 and can have results within four hours.

Alabama has always been defined by a combination of hardworking, devoted individuals who have the most amazing family business stories to tell.  Our targeted business sectors consist of companies that have found success in Alabama and garnered international attention across the globe.

From technology and aerospace in the north; to automotive, technological, and medical innovations in central Alabama; to booming tourism, seafood industries, and ports in the south, Alabama business owners have used our foundation and expertise across multiple industries to establish our state as one of the top five business climates in the country.

However, for companies working to monitor this crisis and make quick decisions, all while running the day-to-day operations of managing a business, this was not the challenge they were expecting to take on in 2020.

As we face the inevitable changes gripping Alabama in the coming months, our state has opportunities to openly demonstrate the supportive business climate we are known for by implementing swift adaptations and adjustments. When planning for remote workforce operations, businesses can create goals that inspire flexibility and will manage changing demands. Alabama companies can focus on communication and the necessary support to implement any adjustments needed to carry-out normal work schedules and environments, providing the stability that employees seek in this tumultuous atmosphere.

Business owners can use this as an opportunity to demonstrate to their team, in times of uncertainty, an understanding of the importance of staying centered. Communicating in a highly professional way that the safety and health of your clients, employees and your community have always been a top priority demonstrates that now, more than ever, your business focus is others.

The government’s job is to slow the spread, contain the outbreak, and keep citizens informed. Various Alabama businesses are paying attention to national and state regulatory reactions and sharing these updates with co-workers as quickly as updates are received.  Canceling work and client events can be extremely difficult; however, businesses should have one objective- slowing down the spread of the virus to avoid overburdening a healthcare system that doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle a sudden surge of tens of thousands of cases at once.

Often, it takes extreme challenges to learn and grow as a company. Through hardships, businesses can be strengthened by safeguarding their prospects through smart, pre-emptive strategies, whether it be aligning with scaling back in discretionary spending and diversifying supply chains. Leading a business in a time of crisis reveals new ways to build company morale, boost communication, and foster growth that may otherwise have been left unidentified.

As the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak continue to unfold, it is wise to be prepared and, most importantly, be hopeful. Alabama businesses will rise to the occasion by easing concerns and ensuring our state’s great economy comes away stronger than ever before.

Holly Shepherd Lollar is Founder and President of The Lollar Group, a full-service communications company. She is an Accredited Public Relations professional with 20 years of experience in crisis communication, media relations, political consulting and strategic planning. Lollar was named to Yellowhammer News’ Power & Influence 50 list of the most powerful and influential players in Alabama politics and business in 2017.