SA Hispanic Chamber of Commerce providing resources for area businesses amid pandemic

Marina Gonzales, CEO of SAHCC, says there are plenty of resources to help businesses navigate the pandemic

Texas companies and small businesses have been through so much over the last 17 months. With the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, President Biden’s vaccine mandate, and obstacles in our economic recovery, there are still so many questions on the horizon.

Marina Gonzales, president and CEO of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, joined Leading SA to discuss the local economy.

You know, in many ways, we have seen our local economy pick up in terms of demand. We see people out and about and shopping again and eating at our restaurants. So, what we’re trying to do is just promote that and say shop local and make sure you’re doing it safely. Make sure that you’re operating your business safely and that if you’re a customer, that you are still keeping your favorite coffee shop or a bakery open here as we still navigate the effects of the pandemic, especially now with our Delta variant that we’ve seen recently,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said this landscape can be frustrating for businesses and employees but they shouldn’t lose hope.

“I think we’re all feeling that collective sense of frustration. Hang in there, keep going, keep operating your business and keep it open and give us a call if you’re not a member already. We have a ton of resources to make sure that you can operate safely and get you some of the opportunities out there, whether you did the PPP alone, if you’re doing your forgiveness, if you need help with any of that, if you need help with the local resources, that would be the message is there are plenty of people out here in San Antonio willing to help,” Gonzales said.

This past week, President Biden announced vaccine mandates for certain businesses, so now, the Chamber is helping ensure area businesses are abiding by those guidelines.

We just wish that we wouldn’t have to get to a place where we are mandating a vaccine. We have been promoting it since it came out. It’s safe, it’s effective, and it is the best way out of this pandemic. So my initial reaction was disappointment that we’d even have to discuss the mandate. But you know, where we’re at right now, we have more questions than answers, given that we’re still waiting on guidance of this executive order to be able to to give some of those answers to our businesses that have those questions. So, what we plan to do here is carefully review what’s coming out in the next few days. And our goal is to ensure that our businesses have the resources and flexibility to continue to promote the vaccine without any experiencing any negative consequences,” Gonzales said.

And, as mid-September nears, Gonzales is reminding others that Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off on the 15th.

I think it’s important right now to find those ways to celebrate together as a community... We definitely have enjoyed that rich history of celebrating our culture and the achievements of Latinos in our community,” Gonzales said.

You can find all of the resources that the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce provides here.

You can watch the full Leading SA interview with Gonzales in the video player above.

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About the Author:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.