Chamber News

Chamber news and updates are shared below. Check this page for minutes from Chamber board and member meetings, future plans, and helpful news and resources from area partners.

Chamber Activities

Events and public activities are quiet amid COVID-19 concerns; as such, Houston Hoedown Days, Lawn Chair Concert Series, and Taste of the Trail of Root River Trail Towns have been cancelled.

We have instead looked to support the community in other ways:

Mollie B Concert Sponsorship

Chamber was one of several sponsor for a concert featuring Mollie B and the Jim Busta Band at Valley View Nursing Home for residents and online listeners in July. Though our own Lawn Chair Concert Series was cancelled, we were happy to be able to help bring some music to the community over the summer.

Food Shelf Donation

With minimal events and public projects in the works right now, the Chamber has instead used $1,000 of its funds to donate to the Houston Community Food Shelf.

2020 Senior Recognition Awards

The Chamber decided to put on a 2020 Senior Recognition Award Program for Houston High School's 2020 graduating class. Each student had the opportunity to receive a $100 award upon submission of an application. The award program is to assist students moving on to school or other continuing education programs in light of the chaos and adaptations of this year due to COVID-19.

Meeting Minutes

Board meetings are held the 3rd Monday of each month unless scheduling conflicts arise. Meetings are open to the public and members are encourages to attend.

January 2020 - All Member Meeting

February 2020 - Special Meeting for Approval of Bylaws Updates

February 2020 - Board Meeting

March 2020 - Meeting Cancelled

April 2020 - Board Meeting

May 2020 - Board Meeting

June 2020 - Board Meeting

News & Resources

Meeting to Discuss Potential Business Relief

The Houston Planning Commission/EDA will be meeting on Monday, August 3rd at 5:30 p.m. at the Houston Community Center (upstairs) to discuss potential business relief funding as a result of the CARES Act. The public is welcome to attend. Businesses may also reach out to the City of Houston to provide insight on business needs as a result of COVID-19.

July 27, 2020

Mask Pickup for Houston Businesses

The Houston Area Chamber has received a one-time shipment of disposable face masks from the state of Minnesota to distribute to businesses; these are for use by businesses' customers who may not have their own. Chamber will hold a pickup at Houston Nature Center from 5-6 p.m. on Friday, July 31st. Quantities are very limited, so masks will be given to businesses on a first-come, first-served basis. Limit one 50-ct box per business.

July 27, 2020

Statewide Masking Mandate

As of July 25, people in Minnesota will be required to wear face masks when in indoor public places and business unless they are alone. More details on face coverings, industry-specific guidelines, and all requirements executive order 20-81 can be found at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facecover.html.

July 23, 2020

Houston County Public Health Note for Businesses

Houston County Public Health & Human Services would like to encourage any business who is notified of an employee testing positive for COVID-19 to reach out as soon as possible. As information and guidance change, they can provide answers and better trace cases if notified early on. Businesses may contact 507-725-5810. A roundtable discussion is also being held Wednesday, July 8th at 10 a.m. for business owners to hear from other local businesses and have Q&A time with Houston County Public Health & Human Services via Zoom. You must register for this by emailing EDA@co.houston.mn.us.

July 1, 2020 [Updated July 2, 2020]

Using Tourism to Attract New Residents Virtual Convening

A free virtual event from SE MN Together, this session on July 30 from 12:45-3:30 p.m. will be focused on exploring the opportunity to draw new residents to rural towns via current tourism habits. With an increase in remote work, visitors have the ability to travel and consider different ways of life in rural areas, and this virtual event will provide possible actions towns can take to enhance their own appeal. Register here.

July 1, 2020

Community Cookbook Project by Mainspring

Nonprofit Mainspring, out of Caledonia, MN, is seeking submissions for a community cookbook project features recipes from around the region. All are welcome to submit for inclusion in the book; the project's purpose is to help build community around food and rural culture though large gatherings may not be possible. Visit mainspringmn.org/cookbook for more information and to submit a recipe.

June 21, 2020

Growing Stronger Together Free Webinar Series

The Houston County EDA, in partnership with CEDA's Harvest Entrepreneur Network program, is bringing you a "Growing Stronger Together" free webinar series. This series will feature successful producers' practical guidance and action insights to help grow businesses. The first webinar will be June 12, 2020 from 10-11 a.m. Registration is required. Find all topics and register at https://houstoncountymn.com/agriculture/.

June 9, 2020

#StaySafeMN Organized Sports Update

The Minnesota Department of Health is providing guidance on the planned opening of organized sports. The process begins with practice and games for low-risk activities for small groups and slowly growing. Additional guidance for youth and adult sports, aquatic facilities, and more may be found at https://staysafe.mn.gov/industry-guidance/organized-sports.jsp.

June 9, 2020

#StaySafeMN Plan Phase 2 Allows for Outdoor Dining

Starting June 1, under Phase 2 of the #StaySafeMN plan allows bars and restaurants to re-open for outdoor dining with limitations. This includes a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, limited seating capacity, distancing of tables, and more. For details on the Executive Order and answers to frequently asked questions, see the DEED Developments Blog.

May 28, 2020

Houston Chamber Offer 2020 Senior Award Program

The Houston Area Chamber of Commerce is offering Houston High School's 2020 seniors the opportunity to receive a $100 award each upon receipt of a completed application. The award is intended to assist students with any continuing education needs following their high school graduations. Applications are due by 5/31.

May 20, 2020

Safely Returning to Work and Ensuring Safe Non-Work Activities

In light of the governor's decision to allow safely returning to work with some limitations in mind, DEED has compiled a list of FAQs and other helpful information for businesses. Guidance, the executive order, and other resources can be found at https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/safework/business/.

May 17, 2020

Lawn Chair Concert Series Cancelled

After much consideration, it has been decided that the Lawn Chair Concert Series will be cancelled for the summer of 2020 for the safety of all involved. With uncertainty surrounding the summer months, the Lawn Chair Concert Committee and Chamber board do not want to risk planning large concerts and gatherings.

May 5, 2020

Stay at Home Order Extended, Curbside Allowed for Retail 5/4

Minnesota's Stay at Home Order has been extended to May 18, 2020, but some non-critical, non-customer facing businesses are allowed to reopen if they have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan (template), follow designated health and safety protocols including health screenings of employees, and continue teleworking as much as possible. Effective May 4, 2020, retail businesses may offer curbside services with the same restrictions in place. See DEED's guidance on safely returning to work.

April 30, 2020

Valley View and Heritage Court Victory Over the Virus Campaign 5/16

Valley View and Heritage Court invite all businesses and community members to participate in their Victory Over the Virus Campaign with a parade on Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. Drive through, wave, and bring residents a smile. The parade will line up at Killborn Street and turn left at Maple. No number or lineup direction will be provided. Details in the flyer.

April 27, 2020

Root River Triathlon Postponed to 9/26

The 22nd annual Root River Triathlon will be postponed due to continuing restrictions and precautions of COVID. The event, by the Houston Lions Club, is now scheduled to take place on Sept. 26, 2020 which coincides with the Houston Block Party.

April 25, 2020

La Crosse Tribune Local Marketing Grant Program

The La Crosse Tribune has started a Local Marketing Grant Program that applies across its services. Applications take only a few minutes and businesses must answer how the pandemic has affected your business. Check the application page for details.

April 22, 2020

Contact

Houston Area Chamber of Commerce

215 W Plum St

PO Box 3

Houston, MN 55943

507-896-4033

houstonmnchamber@gmail.com

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