The effects of coronavirus on Lakeland’s small businesses will be front and center when the City Commission meets in special session this afternoon.

Five representatives from business organizations have been lined up to talk with commissioners about what their members are saying.

The meeting is being held at the urging of Commissioner Stephanie Madden, who argued last week that the commission has already heard from health experts about the effects of coronavirus and now needs to hear from business experts.

Invited speakers and their organizations include:

Skeates will recommend the city convene a Re-Open Lakeland Task Force that would represent a wide range of Lakeland businesses, The Ledger reported.

“There is surely a cross section of the community we are not currently hearing from that we need to hear from to walk the delicate balance of reopening businesses while maintaining health and safety,” he told the newspaper.

Both the Chamber of Commerce and BRIDGE Local have conducted surveys of small business owners in the last week to determine how they’re faring and their prospects for reopening.

Survey links: BRIDGE Local | Lakeland Chamber of Commerce/Business Observer

In addition, BRIDGE Local’s Facebook page includes video interviews with several local entrepreneurs and a teleconference with Commissioner Madden on small-business issues.

Business owners interviewed include Lori Smith-Addlemanof Bomar Trophy Shop; Mark and Jeanna Parker of Bella Viságe Medical Rejuvenation Spa; Conn O’Leary and Cory Ripley of Cob & Pen, and Good Thyme LKLD; Kate Lake of My Office & More; Alex Eisenberg of American Irons Tattoo Shop; and Mario and Patty Medina of Cigar Life.

The City Commission meeting begins at 3 p.m. It will be held via teleconference and can be watched:

Members of the public are given a chance to comment via telephone. The open public comment portion typically takes place at the end of the meeting.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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