January New Member Graphic

There will not be a January monthly coffee, the Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce has announced.

According to Executive Director Hope Nunley, the decision was made to forgo this month’s coffee as case numbers continued to hover in the 450-plus range and keep people from gathering in large groups. The chamber will, however, continue to host ribbon cuttings for new businesses that join the chamber, as those event draw much smaller crowds, she added. The coffee was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 26.

“The reason that we chose to cancel the coffee is, of course, just being mindful of the numbers of [COVID-19] cases, because [the coffees] tend to draw larger crowds,” Nunley said.

Both the chamber and the would-be host of the coffee came to the conclusion together, Nunley added.

“They felt it was the correct decision as well, to try to keep everybody safe,” she said.

As for the ribbon cuttings, Nunley said chamber staff and the businesses cutting their ribbons communicate well in advance to decide whether or not to host it. Chamber staff and the business itself take all necessary precautions when hosting the ribbon cuttings as well, Nunley said.

“I’d say we have 20 people of less at those, whereas the coffee averages about 100 people,” she told The News. “We do feel confident in the ability to host a safe ribbon cutting, and that’s with a lot of communication on the front end with the person that’s having the ribbon cutting and communication with the public who tends to attend about the expectations of how that’s going to go.”

Right now, the chamber is working with businesses to host either indoor or outdoor ribbon cuttings.

“It’s really a mix a both,” Nunley said of the ribbon cuttings currently on the calendar for the chamber. “It’s really weather dependent, especially in January.”

The most recent ribbon cutting took place outdoors Jan. 12 at the newly-named Tullahoma Dermatology. All attendees wore masks, including the office staff, who donned matching masks for their business.

Nunley said the chamber also brings along personal protective equipment like masks to every ribbon cutting for those who may forget their own masks and need one.

In addition, Nunley said she and Membership Director Tisha Fritz strongly encourage all ribbon cutting attendees to wear face coverings and opt for a fist bump or elbow tap instead of a handshake at the events.

“We feel confident in the measures that we’re taking that we can still do these safely,” she said. “We have been very fortunate. They know that in order to us to be able to do these that that’s the steps that we all need to take as a community.”

Chamber staff said they are not taking the step of requiring masks be worn at ribbon cuttings and are still trusting that all ribbon cutting attendees listen to the recommendations of themselves and the CDC in order to keep everyone safe.

“We appreciate everyone’s efforts to support our efforts to keep everybody safe,” Nunley said.

A decision on whether or not the February coffee will take place has not yet been determined, according to Nunley.

“We have not taken that step just yet,” she said.

Rather, she and Fritz will communicate with the business or businesses that would host the February coffee and keep an eye on COVID-19 case numbers as the days pass in order to make that determination.

“Safety is definitely top of mind, and I think that the public understands that at this time,” Nunley said.

Managing Editor

Erin McCullough has won awards for her news reporting, community lifestyles and education reporting in the three years she's been a journalist. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Tullahoma with her cat, Luna.

Recommended for you