These last few weeks have been tumultuous, both emotionally and financially for much of our business community.

And just like that, we are at the end of May. However, to be honest, I think we can all agree these past few weeks have sort of been a blur, dotted with random dates of expectation and causing us all to truly rely on a daily calendar again.

First and foremost, I’d like to wish congratulations to our 2020 area graduates! While we know this was not the sendoff any of us could have predicted or wanted, we here at the Sleepy Eye Chamber of Commerce wish you all the best as you start this next chapter in your lives. We are confident that your schools and your community have prepared you for the adventurous road ahead.

Also we offer congratulations to our 2020 Sleepy Eye Chamber of Commerce Scholarship recipient, Ms. Madesen Roberts. Madesen’s essay was selected by our Board of Directors out of the those that were submitted in March. She will be awarded a $500 scholarship, made possible by the generous participants at our Annual Chamber Golf Tournament. Thank you to those participants, and Madesen, we wish you all the best!

These last few weeks have been tumultuous, both emotionally and financially for much of our business community. The uncertainty of reopening dates, budgets and finances, new policies and procedures, and of course the overall health and well-being of both staff and customers. Our Sleepy Eye Chamber of Commerce has been engaged and responsive through this entire event and we will keep doing so for as long as our assistance is necessary. Weekly newsletters with updates for our members are still being sent, containing pertinent information for what our businesses will need to reopen safely — for both their employees and customers. This information has been available on our Chamber website as well, so whether you are a member business or not, you have access to it. The Chamber's advocacy for small business still continues as we partner with other Chambers in Minnesota to urge Gov. Walz to safely continue the reopening of more businesses.

The overwhelming feedback from businesses is that they are preparing and ready to see their customers again. They are working on their required safety policies and procedures to ensure you, the customer, and their employees are kept safe. Some of them have had to rework how they offer services and how you experience their business. Here are a few items of importance to remember when being a returning customer:

Please follow their rules for Social Distancing, Sanitation and Safety Precautions. These are a requirement for them to stay open; please do not jeopardize that.

Many have been closed for months, be patient as they restock goods and recall their employees; also remember this is new for them as well, so remain considerate to the changes.

Some businesses may still not be able to open fully (state executive orders have set occupancy percentage limits on some spaces); please be patient as they make decisions that are best for their business, their employees and you, their customers.

We have been saying for the past couple months how ‘we are all in this together’ and that will include the opening up process too. We realize there are opinions and feelings that may be tested, but remember our businesses have made these adjustments for you, to be open; if that means making adjustments for them, I think we can all take that extra step ‘together’ as well.