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Greater Omaha Chamber announces new task force and COVID-19 economic recovery plan

The plan outlines how businesses can safely reopen
Posted at 6:29 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 19:29:56-04

OMAHA, Neb. — The Greater Omaha Chamber is spearheading a task force to help businesses get back to work during the pandemic - providing them with information, tools and resources. The task force will also focus on Omaha's economic future and what we could be seeing later in the year.

Many business parking lots remain empty as the businesses themselves remain closed. The new task force, THRIVE 2020, is working to refill those parking lots in a safe and strategic manner.

"It's a collective effort trying to figure out how we can help accelerate the process of recovery once people decide to come back to work," Greater Omaha Chamber president and CEO David Brown said.

The THRIVE 2020 executive committee is made up of business leaders who will focus on different entities of the recovery process, including the CEO of Mutual of Omaha James Blackledge, who will oversee economic development as the pandemic continues.

"Our primary mission really is to keep the pipeline really flowing for future economic development opportunities to attract and retain and grow businesses here in Nebraska," Blackledge said.

Due to the size and makeup of Omaha, James, along with president and CEO of Omaha Public Power District Tim Burke, have high hopes for Omaha business during and post-pandemic.

"Places like Omaha are really right for this kind of economic development activity and success," Burke said.

The task force's main goal is to be a resource for local businesses as they navigate through COVID-19, and help Omaha come out strong.

"Get stronger, grow faster, even have more opportunities for our citizens when this is done than we had before it started," Brown said.