RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – While the coronavirus outbreak has – so far- had limited impact on the Triangle and North Carolina with some reported incidents and cancelled events, how could  startups, emerging companies and larger tech firms deal with a outbreak and some sort of quarantine?

What’s happening in Seattle – one of the earliest metros in the US hit by the virus – could offer guidance to Triangle and other leaders.

“The Seattle area is dealing with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the country, with at least 22 deaths, and businesses are bracing for the cascading effect of losing customers for the foreseeable future. Hotel bookings dropped as big conventions, including the Emerald City Comic Con, were canceled or postponed,” reports The Associated Press.

“You can see it and feel it on the streets. You can see it in restaurants and hotel lobbies,” Jon Scholes, president and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association, told The AP.

From telecommuting to finding networking tools, here are some suggestions as reported by PitchBook:

“Flexible work options have long been a perk for many of the city’s tech startups, but they’re now approaching a de facto policy. For the first time, many companies are urging—or mandating—that all nonessential employees work remotely through the end of the month, at least. These guidelines come alongside similar policies from the region’s two largest tech companies, Microsoft and Amazon, as well as recommendations from local government,” PitchBook reports.

As for tools …

“Local companies are relying heavily on tools including Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Slack to keep things running as teams work remotely,” PitchBook says.

“These technologies facilitate not only meetings, but also social events: Textio’s workers are eating lunch together and holding happy hours over video, for example.”

As for firms that have already embraced telecommuting and network, there are still adjustments to make.

“It’s still relatively early days for the epidemic in the Seattle region, and much of the impact on businesses has yet to be fully understood,” PitchBook says.

“But even companies that had already embraced working remotely find themselves having to adapt to a new normal.”

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