March 27, 2020

Because of the power of our community to activate and create impact, we had a call with our advisory board this afternoon about the ongoing COVID situation and how to help the individuals and companies in our tech community.

Check out some of the highlights from this call (and the awesome picture of some of our advisory board members who participated in their WTC sweatshirts!):

  • Utah is the first state to release an economic response plan. Because this plan was developed closely with health experts and combines economic stimulus components, it gives businesses a comprehensive picture to help them forecast what to expect and how to plan during the next 6 months. This is a tremendous resource that can help give organizations large and small a forecast and tools to plan during this time of uncertainty. Check out the full plan here.

  • The federal stimulus package is being finalized and bringing millions of dollars to Utah to support struggling businesses survive and avoid layoffs. One of the strongest components of these loans is payroll protection to help keep people employed as this situation continues to unfold. We encourage everyone in our community to explore these resources and get more information here. If you need more information or assistance in accessing these resources, please reach out to us and we will help connect you with experts who can help.

  • As we finish our second week of social distancing, helping keep employees and companies connected has never been more important. Bamboo HR shared ideas they’ve used to help promote mental health and social connection among employees, including:

    • Basing programs around needs, not budgets

    • Sending home every employee with a complete ethernet kit for total connection

    • Using existing platforms for social connection, not just work connection, like discussions about fighting loneliness, how to work at home with kids, or even social groups like virtual gaming or fans of the same TV show

  • We’re all also conscientious about how we can continue supporting local businesses that are being hit so hard during this time. MX is giving employees Door Dash giftcards to help them eat out locally, and we at WTC provided a Swig gift card to our advisory board members. Please get creative and find ways to support businesses like these.

  • In response to questions about how to juggle working from home with kids, members of the group suggested setting standard times every day for when you’re available for calls or meetings, and then filling in after hours if needed to give more flexibility.

  • We want to activate to help the most vulnerable in our community. If you have insights on needs or opportunities, please let us know so we can organize and respond with whatever help and resources are available.

After our call, the Governor issued additional guidance today for everyone to stay home and stay safe. We are so proud to be part of a tech community that has been ahead of the pack on implementing measures like this from the beginning. Please take a look at these new guidelines and see if there is anything else you or your organization can be doing to help flatten the curve.

Thank you all for your incredible work and support. We applaud you in your efforts to stay home and stay safe!

We’re so proud to be part of such an amazing community that is working together and partnering with the state to help get more test kits and mitigate COVID issues. We wanted to share the updates from today’s Silicon Slopes Town Hall meeting:

Mark Newman, CEO of Nomi Health is coordinating efforts to ramp up to 100k tests in Utah. This requires additional resources in four key areas: trained individuals to collect samples, sites for collection, testing kits, and labs to run tests and results. See image below

Please pay attention to the items in red:

  • Personal Protective Equipment see the full list here.  Silicon Slopes volunteers will come pick up items to make it super easy to donate.
  • Test Sites: If any company with a parking lot along I-15 not currently in use due to remote work forces who would be willing to donate their space, please reach out. Currently there is only one identified site in Utah County.
  • Medsential Home Testing Kits a number of folks from our community have been working on a plan to get 70,000 at-home test kits here from a manufacturer in China. They have an order on hold — it can be shipped on Monday or Tuesday (latest).  The kit is similar to a home-pregnancy test with results in 15 mins (prick your finger). Based on what the manufacturer is telling us, the test has 97.75% accuracy and has been used by hundreds of thousands of people in China. As of last night, this exact manufacturer just received orders from Thailand, Finland, the EU and Italy. Many companies are purchasing kits for their teams and families and  we assume others will like to do the same. Please read. If you have questions, let me know. If your company wants to participate in the purchase, also let me know.

Additional updates:

  • Governor Herbert has designated this weekend to be a weekend of prayer and service. We encourage everyone to participate and especially to serve those experiencing need around you.

  • The Red Cross is in need of more blood donations, and has created extra processes to donations can be given following health guidelines for COVID safety. Several banks, including Murray and Salt Lake, are operational with these extra precautions and need donations immediately.

  • More organizations in various sectors are stepping up with ways to help in this pandemic. In one example, some banks and utility companies have announced they will not foreclose or hault services for non-payment during these difficult months. Other groups are brainstorming ways to support small businesses. In whatever realm you’re able, we encourage you to help.

  • Kudos to our partners Qualtrics and Ancestry, along with many other organizations and individuals who have made donations to Slopes Serves to help fund COVID tests. Donations are still being requested for others who would like to give.

With so much happening this week, we hope everyone can have a safe and rejuvenating weekend and encourage you all to participate in the Governor’s call to make this a weekend of prayer and service. We have great confidence that our community can come together to help both find solutions for this problem, and strengthen one another in the process.