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HARLINGEN, TEXAS (March 26, 2020) – COVID-19 has shifted the lives of our community, the state, the nation, and worldwide. It has upended plans and goals, missions and visions. Budding business owners, and even those with established businesses, now find themselves looking for answers.

“As leaders in our community, it is our job to step up and provide resources, to help our business community as best as we can,” HEDC CEO, Raudel Garza said.

Last week as news began to flood in about the pandemic sweeping the globe, the HEDC staff and CEO were proactive in putting information together in order to connect people to valuable resources.

“We had to make a decision because life wasn’t going to be ‘business as usual’ and we had a new challenge, one nobody had anticipated.”

The HEDC team quickly put together valuable infographs that include state and federal resources for employers and employees, created a resource page on their website with a message from Garza, an Official Notice that specified that the HEDC is still open to help, and an economic impact survey.

On Tuesday, March 24, the HEDC staff also held a Q&A with guest speaker, Alan Ozuna, HEDC attorney, who answered questions about the Cameron County Shelter in Place order.

It was a space for manufacturers to ask questions and share concerns about how the order would affect business and were able to speak to Ozuna candidly. The complete video can be found here.

As businesses made the tough decision of letting go of employees and worse yet, shuttering their doors to a community they had served for years, Garza and his staff understood that they needed to begin gathering data in the form of a survey.

“The survey is going to be ours and the City’s way to evaluate the impact that COVID-19 is having on our city,” Garza said.

“It is absolutely imperative that people visit our website and take this survey, so we gather accurate data.”

Garza added that the information received will help the HEDC develop or expand existing programs for those businesses in need, as well as report data to state and national organizations for additional funding.

More plans continue to connect the community to valuable resources and the HEDC is currently planning a webinar with the Harlingen-based Small Business Administration district office. The webinar will focus on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and help small businesses understand the loan and its specifications.

The webinar, in conjunction with the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Harlingen, will be open to the public. Complete details and registration will be shared on the HEDC website and on Facebook.

“We haven’t stopped working and while our focus has shifted, we continue working as a City to be there for our community in this trying time.”

Additionally, the Harlingen EDC recently published its Harlingen Guides resource page. The resource guide includes everything from local, county, state, to national COVID-19 resources that are currently available. The guide also includes an overview of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was recently signed.

You can connect to the guide by clicking on the image below.