Author Archives: Barbara Rivera Holmes

Albany Area Chamber recognizes Bishop Clean Care, Open Arms with top honors


November 13, 2020


Albany Area Chamber Recognizes

2020 Small Business of the Year and 2020 Nonprofit of the Year


Albany — The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce recently announced Bishop Clean Care as its 2020 Small Business of the Year and Open Arms as its 2020 Nonprofit of the Year.


“Successful small businesses are cornerstones of our community. They create jobs, they invest, they participate, they shape the business landscape and they add to the vibrancy of our quality of life. Our nonprofits likewise play a vital role by focusing resources and providing services to community needs without regard to profit,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “During a year in which small businesses and nonprofits have been especially tested, these two sectors continue to demonstrate their value, their impact and their resiliency, and we as an Albany Area community are stronger because of them.”

Small businesses have big impact, Holmes said. For every $100 spent at a small, locally-owned business, $68 stay within the local economy. Those dollars help create jobs, support families, fund public sector service and programs, provide investment for neighborhood improvements and promote development in our community.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, two out of three net new jobs are created by small businesses, substantiating why small businesses have long been hailed as the backbone of the American free enterprise system, and why the commercial fortitude of communities is often judged by the ability of their small businesses to thrive. In Georgia, 99.6 percent of all businesses are small and employ 43.1 percent of the private sector work force, or 1.7 million people (source, 2020 Georgia Small Business Profile, SBA). Statewide, firms employing fewer than 20 people saw the greatest job gains, with annual net new job creation of 38,017.

Nationally, nonprofits employ 10 percent of the American work force and provide 5.5 percent of our gross domestic product, Holmes said. They provide an avenue for people to dedicate their time, talents and treasure to making a difference. As the regional hub of commerce and service, Albany is home to many nonprofits, and every year, new ones are established; they are a presence in the area’s quality of life and economy.

“Each year we are humbled by the stories of sacrifice, success, impact and resiliency shared by our small businesses and our nonprofits,” said Perry Revell, chairman of the Albany Area Chamber Board of Directors and senior vice president at AB&T. “You make us proud, and we appreciate all you do.”


About Bishop Clean Care

Bishop Clean Care is a residential and commercial cleaning company servicing the Southwest Georgia community for more than 65 years. Services include cleaning of carpet, tile, rugs, and drapery as well as mold removal and air duct cleaning.


Notable Fact: Ten days after quickly mobilizing their teams to provide emergency services to their customers in the wake of Hurricane Michael, Bishop Clean Care experienced a fire that resulted in the loss of their building. The business relaunched within 48 hours and resumed serving the community in the post hurricane cleanup.  Bishop Clean Care has been in business 68 years, has been an Albany Area Chamber member for 56 years and employs 108 people.



About Open Arms

It is the mission of Open Arms to bring healing, hope and help to children, adults and their families in need of support, intervention and prevention as a result of child abuse in all its forms.


Notable Fact: In the past year alone, Open Arms has moved 206 people from homelessness and abusive homes into safe and stable housing. By providing services and housing, Open Arms helps decrease the community’s costs in caring for this population. Open Arms has operated for 29 years and has been a Chamber member for six years.


The awards program is led by volunteers of the Albany Area Chamber’s Small Business Development & Membership Committee. All finalists for the small business and the nonprofit honors were featured in the latest edition of Biz, the Albany Area Chamber’s award-winning magazine.





Albany Area Chamber-led campaign supports safety, expands business resources


For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Bárbara Rivera Holmes

(229) 434-8700


August 27, 2020


Albany Area Chamber-led campaign supports safety, expands business resources

#StrongerTogetherABY engages public, unifies economic recovery tools


Albany, Ga. — The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today launched #StrongerTogetherABY, an action-led campaign that encourages resident and business participation in recommended guidelines known stop the spread of the coronavirus and that expands access to business resources and training that support return-to-work guidelines and the sustainable reopening of the economy.

The goal of the campaign is to drive participation in safety guidelines in order keep people healthy and restore the economy. Businesses that make the promise at commit to being a partner in stopping the spread of the virus by providing a safer environment for their employees and their customers. Participating businesses will receive face masks, hand sanitizer and free access to the Unified Standards COVID-19 safety training for their employees, along with marketing materials to promote their business as a #StrongerTogetherABY partner. The campaign invites consumers to positively support businesses that adhere to safety guidelines.

“The economic recovery of Albany and Albany Area depends on the health and safety of everyone in our community. The comeback begins with us; every person and every business is accountable to do their part,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business organization. “#StrongerTogetherABY fosters a healthier community by driving participation, providing businesses with PPE and expanding access to work force training that creates safer environments and boosts consumer confidence. Through this initiative we aim to mobilize residents and businesses to combat the pandemic, together. To advance our economic recovery and build our resiliency, together. To move forward, faster and safer, together.”

The communications component of the campaign includes a new website with resources and support for businesses; public service announcements in local media outlets; donated advertising space from corporate partners; donated PPE; publicity and social media programs to involve residents; and support from local governments, businesses and agencies to share the message.

#StrongerTogetherABY was developed by the Albany Area Chamber and is supported through collaboration from numerous public and private partners, including The Levee Studios and its Unified Standards training program that’s designed to work within the state-mandated requirements for 17 business sectors and create basic online training for safe work operations amid COVID-19. Unified Standards brings all essential requirements together in one easy-to-download app. It is built on the latest virtual training technologies and delivers a dashboard of video programs, testing documents, recommended best practices and detailed strategies to help businesses expedite their reopening, follow guidelines and spur economic recovery.

“Employers and employees need to know the guidelines and how to follow them in order to create a safer environment that restores work force confidence and consumer confidence,” said Blake Cook, co-owner and co-founder of The Levee Studios and Unified Standards. “Unified Standards provides easy-to-implement work force safety training that adheres to the guidelines now and as they evolve.”

The Albany Area Chamber and Unified Standards have also partnered with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to launch #StrongerTogetherGA to engage businesses statewide and support Georgia’s economic recovery.

“The Albany Area Chamber’s #StrongerTogetherABY call-to-action campaign packages the resources and education that businesses and communities need to move forward safely and reignite their economies,” said Chris Clark, CEO of the Georgia Chamber, the state’s largest business organization. “Strong local economies support a strong state economy. By partnering on #StrongerTogetherGA, we’re exponentially expanding the actions and access to resources that will advance our state’s economic recovery and support its long-term resiliency.”

To learn more about the campaign and the resources available to businesses, visit To learn more about Unified Standards, visit, where reprensentatives are available via chat to answer questions.


The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is strengthening the area’s assets and businesses and leveraging the power of partnerships to create opportunities that establish a new path forward for all. The trends and issues on which the Chamber is focused – small business innovation and entrepreneurship; economic development; advocacy; talent development; recovery and resiliency – are more important than ever. The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1910. Learn more at or call (229) 434-8700.


Chamber Chair: A Future-Focused Chamber

A Future-Focused Chamber 


When, during its 110th annual meeting in January 2020, I assumed the role of chairman of the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, I did so with clarity about the responsibility of the role and an appreciation for the expectations of the membership, the needs of the community, the capabilities of our staff and the Chamber’s forward focus. 

“This meeting is a time for us to look back, but it’s also a time for us to look ahead. A time to see what was, and to vision what will be,” I shared then with an audience of business and community leaders. “Twenty-twenty (2020) will prove to be a pivotal year for our Chamber. The Board has worked diligently with staff to think strategically, and to reimagine and redirect the future of our Chamber. Like for many of the organizations we serve, the business environment demands we evolve, so it’s no longer business as usual. The future is ours for the taking.” 

Through extensive research and feedback from our stakeholders, we knew then that the forward issues on which we would focus were the right priorities for our members and our community.  We knew we needed to be more responsive and also more proactive; more strategically focused and also broader in reach. We knew we needed to be a nimbler, more agile organization, in order to meet the needs of the membership and to advance the issues before us.  

Some consistent themes emerged: Being intentionally inclusive across various facets of the business community. Strengthening communications, and our member, community and regional outreach. Providing leadership in small business development, workforce development. Stepping forward as a convener and a purpose-driven organization, with the idea to build on past successes to become more relevant locally, regionally and statewide,” I said. “With a new mission and vision, we can become a future-focused Chamber poised to serve as a key organization, not just today but well into the future. As a result, our priorities are clear and our objectives meaningful as we seek to become a Chamber positioned for future success.” 

And so here we are, well into the fast-tracked future, executing a vision and a strategy we knew then was transformational, and evolving quickly and strategically to facilitate Albany’s economic recovery and to ensure its long-term economic resiliency. 

We, like you — our members, our businesses, our community — have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in every way. And we, like you, have adapted. Our investments in board and staff development, member outreach, relationships, digital communications and technology have allowed us to transition operations and programs from predominantly in-person to a virtual/hybrid model. We’re hosting meetings online, offering our programs and events virtually, connecting you with resources and experts and officials — all from our computers to yours. You’re tuning in, learning, engaging, connecting and providing feedback. We’re developing new programs. We’re leveraging the online platform to expand our reach, be more inclusive, provide our resources to more businesses and to more quickly advance key areas for our members, our Chamber and our community. And we’re doing this not from our traditional work desks. 

Since 1991, our home has been at 225 West Broad Avenue in the heart of downtown Albany.  Since March, our HQ has been 225 West Broad Avenue, but our get-it-done work office has been any address, physical or virtual, that allows us to serve our members, support our community and meet our mission. We’ve worked remotely without sacrificing our responsiveness to our members. We’ve been here. Open. And working for you. 

In 2019, the Chamber Board of Directors and staff committed themselves not just to vision and strategy, but to operational excellence in order to better carry out our mission. With everything on the table, we allowed ourselves to envision a future in which 225 West Broad Avenue wasn’t our home. What 2020 has proven to us, and to you, is that we are an organization without walls. We can serve you, and serve you well, from anywhere. Our commitment to Albany lies not in our physical space, but in our purpose: To create a thriving community.   

 And so, it is with confidence in our present, and with confidence in our future, that we are pursuing the sale of our historic property at 225 West Broad Avenue. Our hope is that its future purpose will be as impactful as its present.  And, while we know we can work from anywhere – even from home, we do appreciate and value a physical presence in our community, a versatile working space, a space to convene, for collaboration, and are exploring options in Albany’s central district. 

In the months to follow, you can expect the Albany Area Chamber to continue serving you while we pursue the sale of 225 West Broad Avenue.  And you can expect your Chamber to continue evolving. To continue innovating. To continue launching. To continue leading. To continue being your advocate and your champion; your resource and your advantage; your connector and your convener. 

This year marks our 110th anniversary.  This year marks our new future.   

I’m grateful to serve alongside you.   


Perry Revell is the 2020 Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, and Executive Vice President at AB&T.


Chamber-led delegations meets with federal officials


PRESS RELEASE                                                                 

For Immediate Release

June 25, 2020


Albany-Dougherty Leaders Meet with Congressional Delegation, Marines

Albany Area Chamber-led program convenes local leaders, federal officials


Albany – Business and community leaders met Tuesday with federal officials during the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Washington, D.C., Fly In,” an annual legislative event that connects  local leaders with federal partners to put before them the issues that impact Albany and the Albany Area. The long-standing program that builds relationships and communicates priorities was hosted virtually due to restrictions stemming from the pandemic.


“The Albany Area Chamber’s public policy initiatives are more important than ever to ensure we’re connecting with our federal partners in real time about the issues that impact our community’s recovery and resiliency — from ongoing aid for our small businesses to incentivizing domestic manufacturing to investing in the expansion of broadband to support the Albany Area’s robust advancements in commerce, education, health care and national defense,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our community is strong and innovative, and we see opportunities ahead that will strengthen us further and position us more competitively. We will continue to work closely with our Congressional leadership to support the programs and initiatives that create more opportunities for our citizens.”


The local delegation had virtual meetings with U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop of Albany and Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, along with Georgia’s Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler. During the call with Sen. Perdue, the Albany Area Chamber partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to recognize the senator’s receipt of the U.S. Chamber’s Spirit of Enterprise Award, given in recognition of his support for pro-growth policies in the second session of the 115th Congress.


A key priority of the Albany Area Chamber is supporting the mission and capabilities of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and its major tenant, Headquarters Marine Corps Logistics Command. A virtual meeting with U.S. Marine Corps leadership at the Pentagon, which included Lt. Gen. Charles Chiarotti, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Installations and Logistics, allowed for discussion of key areas including utilization of 5G technology aboard the installation to support the modernization of the industrial base and enhance mission-readiness capabilities such as talent development, 3D printing and micro manufacturing, and advanced weapons systems maintenance, storage and sustainment.


“Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is vital to the mission of the United States Marine Corps, and has been since the installation was established in 1954,” said Col. Dan Gillan, USMC (Ret), who chairs the Albany Area Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee and serves as CEO of the Albany Area YMCA. “The base and command are leading innovators within the Corps. Ongoing investments are needed to equip and sustain our facilities and our Marines — from investments in technology to investments in the work force. As a community and as a Military Affairs Committee, we have and will continue to stand behind our Marines in leading the support for these and other areas of priorities. Our Marines and Civilian Marines live in this community that we call home and we will do what is necessary to further connections and be a voice of support.


Fly In participants included business-sector leadership represented by LRA Constructors, AB&T and Georgia CEO; and leadership from the city of Albany; Albany Area Chamber; Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany State University; Albany Technical College; Dougherty County; the Dougherty County School System; Phoebe Putney Hospital System; the Chamber’s long-standing Military Affairs Committee; as well as representatives from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command.


“We thank our local partners for engaging in this meaningful work and presenting a united force to our leaders in Washington,” said Jake Reese, chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee and vice president of Albany-based LRA Constructors. “We had intensely relevant discussions about where we’ve been and where we’re headed, and the partnerships required. It’s all very encouraging. Albany is well positioned.”


The Albany Area Chamber is represented in Washington, D.C., by Cornerstone Government Affairs.




Media Contact:

Bárbara Rivera Holmes



Chamber CEO: Let’s reimagine and redefine what we can be

On Economic Recovery, Reimagination and Resiliency


Albany has demonstrated time and again that it can withstand a crisis, unite in its wake and emerge stronger in its aftermath. We are innovative, compassionate and resilient. We don’t need to reinvent who we are. We need to reimagine and redefine what we can be.

By Bárbara Rivera Holmes

President & CEO

Bárbara Rivera Holmes
President & CEO


Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet and theologian, thoughtfully wrote that a wound is the place where the light enters you. The concept is most often visualized within the context of personal healing and growth, but it also beautifully applies to our community. Now, through this difficult time, we must recover in a way that allows us to improve our economic competitiveness and resiliency, and create new pathways for our citizens.


In January, at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s 110th annual meeting, I shared with more than 400 business and civic leaders the challenges and opportunities on which our organization would focus in order to advance economic sustainability and prosperity for our community and our region. In February, we launched the community’s first comprehensive work force strategy. The forward trends and issues within our focus areas — small business innovation and entrepreneurship; economic development; inclusivity and advocacy; talent and work force training — are now more important. Urgent, even. The environment has accelerated, and so must our response. Because COVID-19 didn’t just present a health crisis; it hit fast forward on a socioeconomic paradigm shift.


The disruptions in global supply chains, the changes in consumer behavior, the development of social distancing guidelines, the limitations on travel, the broad implementation of telework — these are challenges in what is becoming the old economy. The opportunities — onshoring production for domestic security, a preference for locally-sourced goods and foods, closer-to-home leisure travel, an increase in automation and demand for high-tech skills, flexibility to work from anywhere, a surge in gig jobs — exist within the emerging new economy.


Upskilling and diversifying the existing work force, and creating, retaining and recruiting talent, will create exponential growth opportunities. Spending more dollars locally than abroad and online will allow them to recirculate within our economy, which will mean stronger small businesses, offsets to tax hikes and improvements to critical infrastructure. Helping our existing industries grow and recruiting new ones will strengthen our economic anchors, expand the tax base and provide more jobs.


The Albany Area Chamber is working with community partners to frame the conversations around economic recovery and resiliency. Together, we responded decisively and innovatively in the face of the health crisis. Together, we are supporting businesses through reopening. Now, as we write the next chapter of Albany’s history, together we must move forward.


COVID-19 has wounded us. We can recover, and we will. We can also reimagine and redefine what we can be. We can regenerate as more inclusive and resilient and vibrant. We can let the light enter us.


Bárbara Rivera Holmes is president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Chamber, United Way facilitate philanthropy during COVID-19


April 13, 2020

United Way of Southwest Georgia’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund Receives Significant Donation from Wildfair Plantation

ALBANY, GA – Wildfair Plantation announced today a $125,000 donation to the United Way of Southwest Georgia’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund to help people most affected by the current pandemic.  The donation comes alongside contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals including the Turner Foundation, Betty & Davis Fitzgerald Foundation, Garnett Smith Foundation, Truist Foundation, and UPS.


“On behalf of the Wildfair family, our businesses and friends, we believe we have greater impact when we work together,” said Joseph Davenport III, owner of Wildfair Plantation, a local hunting preserve. “We stand strong with Albany and are pleased to support the community through the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund. We know the Fund’s leadership will ensure that the individuals and organizations that need it most will get support quickly to help weather this storm.”


The Southwest Georgia COVID-19 Relief Fund is being managed by the United Way of Southwest Georgia. Local organizations, including the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce are also offering their support and leadership.


“This gift by the Davenports and the Wildfair Plantation community is so much more than a charitable donation; it represents a commitment and desire to improve the human welfare of Albany and the Albany Area in a way that will have immediate, significant and lasting impacts,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business advocacy organization. “We are grateful for the relationship with the Davenports and to have facilitated their philanthropy, which we hope will serve as a catalyst for further support and investments for our citizens and our community.”


“COVID-19 is a new test of our collective strength and together we will rise,” says Shaunae Motley, president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Georgia.  “We are grateful to Joseph and Susan Davenport and the Wildfair family for believing in our mission and choosing us as a vehicle to provide hope and respond to our community’s emergency needs.  So many citizens will be helped through their generous gift.”


The Fund is working to quickly address the economic challenges of COVID-19 by rapidly deploying resources to community-based organizations in need of funds to meet the immediate needs of individuals affected by the crisis.  The distrubution committe comprised of a cross-section of community leaders is reviewing applications from local nonprofits and organizations seeking funding and expects to distribute the first round of grants beginning April 14.


To contribute to the COVID-19 Response Fund, visit or text FIGHT COVID to 313131. As funds are distributed, United Way will publish the receiving agencies, along with the help they can provide and contact information on their website.


About United Way of Southwest Georgia


For over 65 years, United Way of Southwest Georgia has been an innovative force in the community, successfully responding to emerging needs and transforming people’s lives. Today our work is focused on education, financial stability and health – the building blocks for a good life. We invest in quality programs, advocate for better policies, engage people in the community and generate resources.  United Way of Southwest Georgia serves a geographic territory of thirteen counties including: Baker, Calhoun, Crisp, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Lee, Mitchell, Randolph, Sumter, Terrell, Wilcox and Worth.  To learn more, visit 



Albany Area Chamber releases business impact survey


For Immediate Release

Contact: Barbara Rivera Holmes


April 16, 2020


Albany Area Chamber and LSG lead regional business impact survey


Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and Locate South Georgia have partnered to collect information through a series of surveys regarding the extent to which the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has affected local and regional business operations. The online survey opens today and closes April 29.


“The pandemic has impacted every aspect of life and commerce in Albany and Southwest Georgia. The surveys will provide deeper insights into the real-time impact and help continue to inform local, state and federal leaders so as to align policy to needs,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “By working regionally, we can create a stronger platform for near-term economic relief and long-term economic recovery.”


The partnership brings together chambers of commerce and other economic development organizations throughout Southwest Georgia.


“We created Locate South Georgia to better leverage the assets of the region. By partnering with the Albany Area Chamber on this impact survey, we can better serve our business communities and support the overall regional economy,” said Jason Dunn, executive director of the Fitzgerald and Ben Hill County Development Authority and chairman of Locate South Georgia, an economic development collaborative of communities throughout the region.


The survey, which can be accessed online at is to businesses in all industries, including agriculture. It has 20 questions and is expected to take no more than 10 minutes to complete.




Since 1910, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has advocated for business success through leadership and economic development. Learn more at


LSG markets South Georgia as a globally competitive location for business and industry. Learn more at





The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s priority

is to keep the business community informed and prepared.



Agency Leaders

While this is a quickly evolving situation, we will work to provide up-to-date information, actionable intelligence and help employers adopt a prepared mindset to focus on the health of their business. Here is some of the latest, most relevant information and resources for employers from national health organizations and agency leaders.


Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Georgia Department of Public Health

Occupational Health & Safety Administration

World Health Organization

U.S. Small Business Administration



Business Assistance Programs

These local, state and federal resources are available to support businesses during a disaster or crisis. Learn more about how these programs can assist your businesses, as well as how to apply and access these resources.


SBA Disaster Recovery Loans for Employers

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Learn more and apply online.

Economic Injury Relief Overview (Recording Available)

Small Business Administrator Ashley D. Bell and Director of Government Guaranteed Lending for Synovus Joseph Shuford provide a detailed overview of the economic injury relief programs available to small businesses. >> Access the recording

Special guest speaker, Senior U.S. Senator David Perdue, also delivered a high-level update on the CARES Act signed into law on March 27.  >> READ MORE HERE.

Georgia Department of Labor Emergency Unemployment

The Georgia Department of Labor updates rules so that Georgia employers may partial claims online on behalf of their employees for any week during which an employee (full-time/part-time) works less than full-time due to a partial or total company shutdown caused by the -19 public health emergency. Any employer found to be in violation of this rule will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee. Download the How Employers File Partial Claims Desk-Aid found on the GDOL Alert Page and follow the step-by-step instructions. Filing partial claims results in your employees receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefit payments faster, usually within 48 hours for claims filed electronically. Employees for whom you file a partial claim are NOT required to report to a Georgia Department of Labor career center, register for employment services, or look for other work. 

Georgia Department of Labor
Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler and Georgia Chamber President & CEO Chris Clark discuss the expanded rules and regulations in place to assist both businesses and employees during the Covid-19 pandemic.

UGA Small Business Development Center

UGA Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) across the state are open and available to assist small businesses impacted by current circumstances. Virtual consulting and online resources are available. Contact SBDC-Albany at (229) 420-1144.

Download the SBDC’s “Guide to Conquering a Business Crisis” for tips and strategies on cash management, price and cost containment, supply chain management and marketing.


Resources for Job Seekers

If you are looking for a job, we encourage you to check out the current job listenings in Albany.


Important Preparation Resources

Download these critical business resources to assist your company during the pandemic.

The Albany Area Chamber’s COVID-19 Business Resource Guide provides useful information and expert guidance for employers.The U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Resilience in a Box provides best practices for addressing preparedness issues while building in flexibility to handle potential business interruptions.


>> Minimum basic operations poster

>> Social distancing poster

>> To Go poster for restaurants

>> Restaurant guidelines poster

>> Salons, barber shops, spas poster

>> Deciphering Disinfectants Infographic

>> COVID-19 poster for your work place

>> COVID-19 customizable flyer for your work place

>> Coronavirus workplace tips for employers

>> Coronavirus preparedness toolkit




Updates That Impact Employers

July 16, 2020

Governor Brian Kemp extends his executive order banning gatherings of more than 50 people when social distancing can’t be maintained, renewing business restrictions already in place and protecting the medically fragile. Read the order here.

May 29, 2020

Gov. Brian Kemp’s May 28 executive order provides guidance for live music performances, bars, amusement bars and camps, among others. Read the order here.

April 24, 2020

Gov. Brian Kemp issues executive order outlining how Georgians may safely begin returning to work. The order does not mandate that businesses should open; rather, it provides guidance for re-entry.

>> Read here for a re-entry considerations from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

>> Download our re-entry plan template as a starting point for crafting your own.


April 22, 2020

The Georgia Board of Cosmetology and Barbers issues safety guidelines for reopening of salons and spas. Per Governor Brian Kemp’s April 20 order, these and certain other businesses may choose do so as early as Friday. Read the guidelines here. Also to read: OSHA’s COVID-10 workplace guidance.

April 21, 2020

What does Governor Brian Kemp’s April 20 order mean for business? Learn more here in this business-focused executive summary.  The Albany Area Chamber will continue to provide details and guidance from state leadership as it becomes available.


April 20, 2020

Governor Brian Kemp today announced a phased-in approach to getting Georgians back to work safely, with a first wave of businesses allowed to come back online Friday. Social distancing and other safety measures must be in place at establishments. The Governor’s Office will release further details and guidance throughout the week.

• Friday, April 24: Gyms, fitness centers, barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo studios, massage therapists may open; elective surgeries may resume
• Monday, April 27: Restaurants may reopen for dine in, and movie theaters and private clubs may reopen


March 25, 2020

Albany and Dougherty County officials temporarily allow restaurants that already are licensed for on-premises alcohol sales to do so in a take-out/pick-up capacity as an accompaniment to food orders. Beverages should be in a sealed container and must cease at 9 p.m. each day. The order, which provides an update to the March 22 shelter-in-place order, and its corresponding frequently asked questions can be found here. The order is in place until April 7.

All businesses should be enforcing the CDC’s social distancing and hygiene guidelines. When an option, employees should work remotely.
The Albany Area Chamber’s COVID-19 Resource Center provides information and tools for employers. Follow us on Facebook for the most up-to-date alerts.

The Albany Area Chamber and its Board of Directors is committed to supporting the business community, which is playing a critical role during this unprecedented pandemic. We are actively asking the public and our businesses to adhere to guidance from federal, state and local authorities and to make the necessary organizational adjustments in response to current challenges and in preparation for the days ahead.


March 22, 2020

Albany and Dougherty County officials strengthen the local shelter-in-place order, limiting non-essential business and social activities in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the long-term economic impact. The order, which goes into effect at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, 2020. Read the corresponding frequently asked questions.

The Albany Area Chamber and its Board of Directors is committed to supporting the business community, which is playing a critical role during this unprecedented pandemic. We are actively asking the public and our businesses to adhere to guidance from federal, state and local authorities and to make the necessary organizational adjustment in response to current challenges and in preparation for the days ahead.

“The business community is a partner in this effort, with many organizations proactively and innovatively modifying their operations to protect public health, their workers and their businesses — to stem the tide of the virus and to keep commerce flowing,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber and a member of the Albany-Dougherty COVID-19 Task Force. “I am so proud of the leadership demonstrated by our businesses.”

The Albany Area Chamber calls on neighboring communities, businesses and other chambers of commerce to adopt and encourage these guidelines in an effort to protect our local, regional and statewide citizenry and economies.

March 20, 2020

Dougherty County officials enact a shelter-in-place order to limit non-essential activities in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19, mitigate public health risk and minimize the long-term economic impact to the business community. The order, which goes into effect as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2020, and corresponding can be found at


The order advises citizens to travel only for essential business operations, for essential activities and to secure essential goods and services. Individuals may leave their residence only to perform essential activities such as obtaining health services, necessary supplies, and performing essential health activities outdoors, among others. Essential businesses are defined as those such as healthcare operations, grocery stores, retail businesses, newspapers and othersDining in at restaurants/eateries is prohibited; curbside/takeout/delivery is allowed.


Generally and as noted in the order, retailers providing a good or service may remain open at 50 percent of their occupancy and allowing for six feet of distance within people. Health providers may remain open as defined by the order. Bars, indoor recreational facilities, gyms and health studios and other similar type businesses are temporarily closed, as per the order. If you are unsure if your business falls under the classifications listed in the order, please refer to the zoning use definitions or call 311. 


The Albany Area Chamber and its Board of Directors is committed to supporting the business community, which is playing a critical role as we face this unprecedented pandemic. We are actively asking the public and our businesses to adhere to guidance from federal, state and local authorities and to make the necessary organizational adjustments in response to current challenges and in preparation for the days ahead. We further call on our neighboring communities and businesses to follow or adopt these or similar measures in an effort to protect our local, regional and statewide citizenry and economies.

March 19, 2020


Public officials in Albany and Dougherty County enact restrictions in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19, mitigate public health risk and minimize the long-term economic impact to the business community. The order, which goes into effect Friday (March 20) at 8 a.m., and corresponding frequently asked questions can be found at


The Albany Area Chamber and its Board of Directors is committed to supporting the business community, which is playing a critical role as we face this unprecedented pandemic. We are actively asking the public and our businesses to adhere to guidance from federal, state and local authorities and to make the necessary organizational adjustments in response to current challenges and in preparation for the days ahead.


March 16, 2020


The Albany Area Chamber and its Board of Directors is committed to the health and stability of our community, our members and our economy. We are in an unprecedented time. And it is during difficult times especially that unity, leadership, advocacy and stability are most critical. We are committed to continuing to provide you with the resources and leadership you have come to expect.

We are actively monitoring the dynamic situation with COVID-19, are in communication with our state and local health officials and elected leaders and assisting our healthcare systems, first responders and emergency medical personnel in doing their jobs consistently and effectively.

Further, we are working to ensure the health and safety of our Chamber staff; operational continuity for delivery of services and resources to you, our members; and business advocacy and community partnership as together we respond.

Business preparedness, fact-based decisions and access to resources will minimize disruptions in the wake of COVID-19. Below, updates on important information to support your work force and your business.


As we encourage our businesses and community to follow the fact-based recommendations of public health officials in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19, we, too, heed their guidance. The Albany Area Chamber downtown office is closed to the public through mid-April, during which time our in-person meetings and events are postponed. We are monitoring this dynamic situation daily and will communicate as Chamber meetings and programs are rescheduled.


Our business continuity plan is in place and investments in our technology infrastructure mean our team can continue work for you … from anywhere. Business hasn’t stopped, and neither has the Albany Area Chamber. We will continue to provide you with the resources, engagement and leadership you have come to expect from us. Check your inbox and our social media platforms — including Facebook and Instagram — for updates on our programs, business resources and member engagement opportunities.


The Albany Area is open for business. Limiting in-person engagements doesn’t mean commerce must halt. Ways to support our member businesses and support the health of our economy include utilizing delivery services, online shopping and purchasing of gift cards for later use. It’s important also that businesses communicate directly with customers about how they are adjusting during this time.


The Albany Area Chamber’s COVID-19 Business Resource Guide provides useful information and expert guidance for employers.The U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Resilience in a Box provides best practices for addressing preparedness issues while building in flexibility to handle potential business interruptions.


The Dougherty County COVID-19 Task Force has been activated, and the Albany Area Chamber is proud to serve on it alongside our committed public partners. The Dougherty County Emergency Operations Center is available at (229) 302-1900. Phoebe’s COVID-19 call line is available at (229) 312-1919. We encourage members and the public to follow the recommendations of the CDC. The Georgia Department of Public Health is proves daily status reports on COVID-19.

Albany Area Chamber response to COVID-19


March 13, 2020

Leadership, stability critical at this time

The Albany Area Chamber is committed to the success of its members. Business preparedness, fact-based decision and access to resources will minimize disruptions in the wake of COVID-19.


Bárbara Rivera Holmes
President & CEO

We are in an unprecedented time. And it is during difficult times especially that unity, leadership, advocacy and stability are most critical. Throughout our 110-year history, the Albany Area Chamber has provided these pillars of support to you — our members — as your partner in business and community success. We are committed to continuing to provide you with the resources and leadership you have come to expect.

We are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation relative to COVID-19 and heeding the expert guidance of our public health partners. As we do so, we are evaluating our upcoming programs and events. In the coming days we will provide you with more information on our immediate plans. Please look for these updates in your inbox, online at and on our social media sites at Facebook and Instagram.

We encourage all businesses to follow the recommendations of the the CDC, and to make rational, fact-based decisions that support and protect your organization and your work force. The Albany Area Chamber’s COVID-19 Business Resource Guide provides useful information and expert guidance for employers.

The times are uncertain; the Albany Area Chamber’s commitment to you is not.



2020 Albany Under 40 nominations open through April 8




March 12, 2020



 Albany Under 40 Nominations Open

Chamber young professionals program celebrates area’s talent


Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today opened nominations for its 3rd annual Albany Under 40 awards, a program that honors and celebrates the Albany Area’s emerging leaders and professionals. The program recognizes professionals in a variety of industries, each representing a component of the Albany Area’s diversified talentpool and economy.


“The Albany Area is home to young leaders who are making their mark through excellence in their professions, through their innovation and through their commitment to building a stronger region,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “Albany Under 40 celebrates these professionals and promotes the breadth and scope of the talent that helps make the Albany Area a regional leader.”


Individuals may be recognized in 12 categories:  Arts & Entertainment, Culinary Arts, Events, Tourism and Hospitality; Civics, Defense, Government and Public Affairs; Financial and Insurance Services; Innovation and Start- up; Journalism, Marketing, and Public Relations; Legal, Manufacturing, Service Industries, Energy & Architecture; Medicine and Health Care; NonProfit Services; Sports, Wellness & Fitness; Technology; Youth and Education. Nominations are not limited to Albany-Dougherty County residents; the Albany Area Chamber encourages nominations from throughout its regional Albany Area membership service area.


Nominations are accepted electronically via this online form. Nominations must be received by April 8, 2020. Nominees will be notified of their nomination and will receive the application materials. Category finalists and winners will be announced at the Albany Under 40 Awards Reception on August 20, 2020. One overall Albany Under 40 award winner, selected from among the category winners, will be announced at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s 111th annual dinner in January 2021.

Candidates must be under the age of 40 at the time of the award ceremony.

Sponsorship opportunities are available; contact Donna Gray at

For more information, call the Chamber at (229) 434-8700 or visit