Volume 18 l May 2021
Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

President's Desk Edition
It’s so great to see you and be seen again!
           With vaccination numbers up and COVID cases on the decline, the past month was a nostalgic trip back to 2019. With, of course, some restrictions.
           At the Chamber, we held a fun evening at the Holiday Inn St. Petersburg for a B2B Happy Hour. And Keiser University hosted our always-popular Coffee An’Networking. We’re back to regular planning of these events, so stay tuned for future dates and locations.
           Last week, I was a guest at the Parkview Terrace Reveal party presented by the Suncoast Performing Arts Foundation at Largo Central Park. This new extension of the Central Park Performing Arts Center’s Portico will provide space for larger receptions and outdoor performances. The party was like a high school reunion reconnecting with friends I hadn’t seen for more than a year.
           The same was true at the retirement reception I attended for Mike Meidel, executive director of Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED). Mike was among the first community leaders I got to know when I came to the Chamber in 2004. He was president of the then Clearwater Regional Chamber. I wish him many happy years ahead!
           With this new normalcy, please remember to support your fellow Chamber members through our ChamberSHOP promotion. Simply take a photo of a receipt from a Chamber member you did business with and email to us. Each week, we’ll pull one for a free member profile to be featured in our BizReach e-newsletter and on our social media platforms. You can find more details here: ChamberSHOP!
           Wishing you all a prosperous and enjoyable month of May,
           Tom Morrissette, President 
Parkview Terrace Dedication
The Suncoast Performing Arts Foundation celebrated Central Park Performing Art Center’s new Parkview Terrace extension with a reveal party last week. The terrace overlooks Largo Central Park. It provides the Center with a new venue for larger outdoor receptions and musical performances.
B2B Happy Hour & Ribbon-Cutting
When: Thursday, May 20th -
5:30 - 7 pm
Where: The Haus Coffee Shop,
12199 Indian Rocks Road, Suite A
Largo, FL. 33774
$15 Members; $20 Non-members
This informal networking opportunity includes appetizers and a cash bar. Register here: Haus Happy Hour
A Women’s Leadership Committee Program…
COVID & The Workforce: What’s Next?
As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine continues across the country, how will it and relaxed pandemic measures affect the workplace and workforce? Will it offer a return to normal? What about the mental impact of COVID and harnessing mental wellness in the workplace? And why has it hit women in the workforce particularly hard? A panel of experts will provide answers to these questions and offer their insight to “What’s Next?”
Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 7:30 to 9:15 a.m.
St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater
12600 Roosevelt Blvd. N, St. Petersburg
Tickets available now $20 a person - purchase here
Reach an audience of decision makers as a Panel Sponsor!

Presenting Sponsor $550 w/"Stage Time!"
• Opportunity to address Panel Breakfast audience.
• Reserved Table w/Business Logo for Four Guests ($80 value)
• Hundreds of Impressions! Business logo on marketing materials, event announcements, social media platforms, etc. ($600 value)
• Logo in Lights! Business logo projected on screen during Registration & Coffee Welcome. ($150 value)
• Marketing Display! One six–foot table provided for business marketing display in the event banquet room. ($150 value)

Marketing Sponsor $200
• Two Reserved Program Tickets ($40 value)
• Logo in Lights! Business logo projected on screen during Registration & Coffee Welcome. ($150 value)
• Marketing Display: One six–foot table provided for business marketing display in the event banquet room. ($150 value)

To reserve your sponsorship, please contact Zoe Basheska, Chamber Membership Outreach & Marketing Director at Membership@CentralChamber.biz or call 727-584-2321

Thanks to our Presenting Sponsors (to date)
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremonies
Chamber Ribbon-Cutting Ceremonies are another great way to get your business noticed! For more, reach out to Zoe Basheska at Membership@CentralChamber.biz or call 727-584-2321
Pinellas to consolidate COVID-19 vaccine and testing sites
*******Three county-run COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites will be closing operations in the coming weeks, according to the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.
           The Pinellas Park location at 4951 78th Avenue N, a Largo location at 1197 East Bay Drive and the testing site at Tropicana Field’s Lot 2 will all soon close. Health officials said the change was due to an increase in testing and vaccination availability at other locations such as Walgreens and CVS.
           Not all three locations will be closing simultaneously. The Pinellas Park location will close first, having ended all first-dose vaccination shots last Friday. It will be followed by the Largo location, which will shut its doors to first-dose vaccinations this Friday, May 7. Both vaccination sites will remain open past those dates to administer second-dose shots to residents who received their first dose at either location.
           The Tropicana Field location does not offer vaccinations but will halt COVID-19 testing on May 15. Residents in need of a COVID-19 test will still be able to receive one at Ruth Eckerd Hall at 1111 McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater.
           Those in Pinellas still seeking their first vaccination can book appointments online at PatientPortalFL.com.
Tampa Bay COVID Update!  May 3rd, 2021
The COVID-19 Regional Re-Opening Dashboard tracks the critical and official public health metrics that guide Tampa Bay residents and policymakers to safely re-open our economy. It’s produced by the Tampa Bay Partnership.

Case growth rates in Tampa Bay decreased this week, to 1,202 per day over the 14-day period ending May 2, versus the 1,357 reported last week. At 6.54%, Tampa Bay's positive testing rate over the past week remains below the 10% threshold outlined in state and federal re-opening guidelines, and decreased from last week’s rate of 7.33%. Statewide, the positive testing rate was also below the 10% threshold and fell from 6.52% to 6.02%. The 7-day rolling average of Tampa Bay patients hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 decreased by 8.1% in the past week and, as of Sunday, 717 such patients were hospitalized. To date, 1,399,718 Tampa Bay residents – an estimated 35.1% of the region’s nearly 4 million adults – have completed their COVID-19 vaccine sequence.
Help Support Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3-7
****More than ever, our teachers need to know how much we all appreciate their dedication to students and service to our community.
****Pinellas County Schools is requesting that your business recognize our teacher the week of May 3-7 in any of the following ways:
  • #ThankATeacher; BUSINESS NAME appreciates our teachers! Teachers change the world!, be creative!
  • Social media messages of thanks
  • Message of thanks on any company signage/digital billboard(s)
  • Small gifts for teachers in a school near you (feel free to contact the school community liaison directly)
Or anything else no matter how big or small you can do to make sure our teachers know how much their community appreciates what they do.
Gov. Ron DeSantis celebrated a string of victories as his fellow Republican lawmakers delivered on nearly all of his agenda. Now, he could be required to rack up some wins in court to keep them.
More people could be packing their bags for Florida vacations long-delayed by COVID-19 restrictions, indicating the U.S. may indeed be inching closer to pre-pandemic normalcy, data shows.
A novel lawsuit is taking advantage of a local ‘rights of nature’ measure passed in November in effort to protect wetlands.
When a young Joseph W. Hatchett took the Florida Bar exam in 1960, he could not stay in the Miami hotel in which the test was given because of Jim Crow regulations. Within 15 years, Hatchett would become the first African American to serve on the Florida Supreme Court.
For years, Democrats, Republicans and independent analysts were practically certain that Florida is in line for two more of each. What happened?
Share info about your business…
Central Pinellas BizReach E-Connection
For a nominal fee of $35 per issue or $100 a month, you can highlight news about your business opening and specials. Here are the details.
One entry for $35, four entries for $100 (you can edit from week to week).
For non-profits: One entry for $25, four entries for $50.

All Chamber members are eligible to provide business updates and special member-to-member offers/discounts. Central Pinellas BizReach is distributed weekly on Fridays. Provide information/updates by noon the Wednesday prior. Images in jpg or png format with offer will be accepted.
Via email to Zoe Basheska at membership@centralchamber.biz 
Thank you to our Trustees and Newsletter Sponsors
Bay Care/Morton Plant Hospital
Cloud Law Firm PA
Duke Energy
Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital
Home Instead/Be a Santa
Jackson & Associates CPA
Melody Hunter, Charles Rutenberg Realty
MidFlorida Credit Union
National Aviation Academy
Nova Southeastern University - Tampa Bay
Paradise Air
Piper Fire Protection
Platinum Information Services
Regions Bank
The Palms of Largo
Valley National Bank
Wealth Builders
The Weekly E-Connection is made possible by the following generous sponsors: