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A coalition of West Michigan business, community and governmental organizations has formed to provide resources to business owners and employees facing confusion amid new restrictions to control the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

ZEELAND — Office furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. anticipates bringing back up to 30 percent of its manufacturing employees by today to help support the company’s health care division.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s latest executive order grants hospitals and other care providers greater flexibility in how they use staff and students to treat COVID-19 patients.

Following the passage Friday of the federal CARES Act stimulus package, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today she is expanding access to state unemployment benefits for people who typically don’t qualify, including self-employed and low-wage workers.

The coronavirus that’s affected lives and upended operations across the globe has become the kind of transformational business story that only comes around once every generation.

The historic $2 trillion federal economic stimulus bill signed into law Friday contains $350 billion in loans for small businesses that could transition into grants.

WYOMING — A high-end furniture manufacturer has idled work on custom home pieces but called back some laid-off staffers to sew much-needed masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.

For those getting antsy and in search of the outdoors, the message from Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources is simple: Do it close to home.

Home builders across the U.S. are seeking a uniform declaration that their work is essential as states, including Michigan, issue strict stay-at-home orders to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Demand for the mobile computer workstations produced by Walker-based health care furniture manufacturer Altus Industries Inc. had already begun to spike as hospitals started setting up quarantine and triage areas in preparation for an influx of COVID-19 patients. 

ZEELAND — As Brad Davis tracked news about the spread of the coronavirus in early March, he cautioned his production team at MedViron LLC that the company might need to shut down to do its part with social distancing.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and federal lawmakers have taken a variety of steps to help businesses and employees navigate the short-term harm posed by the coronavirus. 

Since the beginning of the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and other health care providers have urged people with symptoms to use telemedicine first to connect with a doctor.

As a global pandemic began to hit West Michigan, executives around the region stepped up to lead their organizations and their employees through the time of crisis. 

For Michigan companies scaling back but not completely shutting down as the state tightens restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus, a little-used program is drawing new attention as an alternative to layoffs.

Panicked consumers stocking up on essential items during the early phases of the coronavirus outbreak have exacerbated what attorneys say are already weak agreements between manufacturers and distributors that spur unscrupulous resellers.

GRAND RAPIDS — Facility owners and property managers are working with their commercial tenants during a time when most retailers and restaurants have had to severely cut operations.

Wind and solar energy companies wait in limbo and electric vehicle advocates expect a hit much like the rest of the automotive sector as the coronavirus causes uncertainty across the clean energy industry.

GRAND RAPIDS — Tim Gortsema’s office at Van Andel Arena might not seem like the locale for optimal social distancing. 

Many businesses are grappling with labor issues amid a stay-home order issued by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Small businesses that have been slammed by the coronavirus pandemic and expect to have difficulty making commercial loan payments should call their bankers now to work out possible adjustments.

The COVID-19 pandemic that’s swept the nation adds a new issue for business succession and transition planning.

Experts say many business owners don’t plan for their eventual exit until they are ready to leave or have begun to see the day they depart.

When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the first two cases of COVID-19 in Michigan and declared a state of emergency on March 11, Lisa Wideman knew Meals on Wheels Western Michigan would be forced to adapt to a new reality. 

The amount of money area foundations are able to give away this year won’t change much, if at all, but 2021 could see some level of decreases depending on what happens with the stock market in subsequent quarters.

BATTLE CREEK — Portage-based Clark Logic LLC plans to break ground in June on the first phase of a speculative industrial project in Battle Creek. 

Now that so many people are working from their basements or spare bedrooms, or like me have a rickety desk setup off to the side in the living room, I want to say: Welcome.

The abrupt disruption in daily routines and work lives has surely raised the anxiety level for people, on top of what they may already feel from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan’s loan and grant program for small businesses affected by the coronavirus is now accepting applications, state officials announced today.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded nearly $2 million in grants to Michigan fair housing organizations, the department announced Thursday.

To our readers, advertisers and business partners: Ordinarily, our next print issue would arrive in mailboxes next Monday. But because we are living in extraordinary times, the paper won’t be there.

BATTLE CREEK — The city of Battle Creek’s economic development agency has doubled its emergency loan fund to $1 million as more small businesses are impacted by the coronavirus. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health has moved beds and equipment into Grand Valley State University’s Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences in preparation for a surge in patients from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Retailers in Michigan had at one time expected higher sales through the spring, although the public health crisis that led to the state’s stay-home order this week now has them in uncharted territory.

GRAND RAPIDS — As the coronavirus pandemic spread to Michigan, Norman Beauchamp saw a need and an opportunity to coordinate manufacturers locally to supply equipment and supplies to hospitals expecting a surge in patients.

A series of foundations have partnered to create a relief fund for Mason County organizations serving on the “front line” of efforts to mitigate effects of the coronavirus.

ROCKFORD — Footwear and apparel retailer Wolverine World Wide Inc. is in the “early stages” of converting one of its manufacturing facilities to produce protective masks for health care workers. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Universal Forest Products Inc. warned investors today that the coronavirus pandemic could pose serious challenges to the business. 

Leaders of the Small Business Association of Michigan voiced frustration Wednesday with what they consider a lack of clarity on what businesses can stay open under the governor’s stay-home order this week, as well as how it gets enforced.

The Muskegon City Commission has approved $150,000 in emergency loans for businesses in the Lakeside Business District that have struggled from a troubled road construction project and forced closures due to the coronavirus.

ZEELAND — Herman Miller Inc. is continuing to pay its Michigan workers affected by the temporary shutdown of its manufacturing operations in compliance with the state’s stay-home order. 

BENTON HARBOR — Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corp. has joined other publicly traded companies in withdrawing its 2020 earnings guidance, citing “unprecedented uncertainty” and concerns over disruptions related to coronavirus. 

The state now asks businesses and residents to donate essential medical supplies and protective gear to hospitals and other care providers.

GRAND RAPIDS — Steelcase Inc. said Tuesday that reduced or halted operations at its global manufacturing and distribution centers because of the coronavirus will “temporarily, but significantly” affect the company’s ability to generate revenue in its current quarter. 

Michigan’s two major investor-owned utilities are taking divergent paths when it comes to building new energy projects as the state escalates actions to contain the coronavirus.

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health and Metro Health today became the latest health systems to appeal for donation of medical supplies.

Michigan business organizations were publicly supportive of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order, although they surely want more clarity on how to proceed.

While most Americans can self-quarantine against the coronavirus from the comforts of home, the area’s homeless population and domestic violence victims rely on shelters to keep them safe. Many guests and clients have complex needs, compromised immune systems, and chronic mental or physical health issues, making essential services even more critical.