Volume 31 l August 2020
Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

President's Desk Edition
As the COVID-19 situation grinds on, your Chamber will continue to keep you in the loop on resources available. Our gatherings may have been curtailed for the time being, but we remain at your service. We’re all in this together!
From the President’s Desk…
----Greetings all!
----There’s no denying we’re well into the dog days of Florida summer. And this year we get the added pleasure of hiding our misery under a mask. We’re living history folks!
----To adapt to these new times, your Chamber is refining it programs and services to better inform and engage you – our member partners. Just last week, we held our first in-person event since March. Our very popular Coffee An’Networking took place at The Marriott St. Petersburg Clearwater. The hotel team went above and beyond in following CDC guidelines, and all who attended had a fun time. We’ll be adding more programs like this in the weeks to come.
----Considering the COVID-19 disruption to the Chamber’s 2020 Program of Work (goals & strategies), our Executive Committee has agreed to maintain the current slate of officers through the 2021 program year. My personal thanks to them for their commitment: Rob England, Chairman, England Brothers Construction; Nate Cocco, Chairman-Elect, State Farm Insurance/Team Cocco; Sean Tobe, Immediate Past-Chairman, Brown and Brown of Florida; Jake Prokop, Treasurer, Pinellas Technical College; Dave Puckett, Vice Chairman/Government & Advocacy, GTE Financial; Mary Taylor, Vice Chairman/Economic Development, McManus & McManus, P.A.; and Ellen Petracco, Vice Chairman/Membership, Value Properties
----Remember to take advantage of our outreach services to share info about your business. They include our weekly BizReach newsletter and “We’re Back!” ribbon-cutting celebrations. You can find more information further down. Give me a call if you’re interested.
----I hope you all continue to be healthy, safe and happy. And thank you for your continued Chamber support and loyalty!
Tom Morrissette, President 
TB Partnership COVID-19 Community Report 
A recent survey of Tampa Bay residents reveals an increasingly pessimistic view of the personal and economic impact of COVID-19, and the ability of our elected leaders to effectively handle the pandemic. The Tampa Bay Partnerships provided the survey report last Friday.
Fifty-four percent of Tampa Bay residents are now “very concerned” about the virus, marking the highest level of concern recorded since early April. Nearly 4 in 5 residents believe we’re still in the heart of the crisis, and their outlook for the future is dim – 84% believe the situation will be the same or worse in 30 days and 66% believe it will be the same or worse in 60 days.
Read more findings here: COVID-19 Community Report
Low-interest rates boost Florida home sales, prices, but foreclosure crisis looms
About 389,000, or 10.5 percent, of Florida’s 3.7 million mortgage-holders were delinquent on loan payments in late May, presaging what some fear could be an emerging foreclosure crisis as bad if not worse than the one that followed the 2008 housing crash. According to a report by real estate data analytics firm Black Knight, Florida’s 10.5-percent May mortgage delinquency rate was fifth-highest among all 50 states and highest in the Sunshine State since January 2010 when 25.4 percent missed mortgage payments. [Source: The Center Square]

With $600 checks disappearing, unemployed Floridians are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of problems
For the last four months, unemployed Floridians were handed a lifeline through the $600 weekly benefits doled out by the federal CARES Act. The payments were a critical supplement to Florida’s standard benefits, which are among the stingiest in the nation. And the $9 billion in payments sent to Floridians was a major boost to the state’s fraying economy, which has been decimated by the pandemic. No longer. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.

Decline in traffic tickets may result in eviction backlog in cash-strapped Pinellas courts
Plummeting traffic tickets have blown a hole in the budgets of local courts millions of dollars wide. Fewer people have been driving during the pandemic, and many cops are also practicing social distancing by avoiding minor traffic stops. Fewer tickets means less money for courts. As a result, Pinellas County’s clerk of courts warns, operations will be dramatically slower for civil cases — including for evictions and foreclosure filings that may skyrocket in the coming months. [Tampa Bay Times]

Stocks were mixed last week amid a busy week of earnings, some troubling economic data, and seemingly little progress on a new fiscal stimulus package. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.16%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 increased by 1.73%. The Nasdaq Composite Index surged 3.69% for the week. The MSCI EAFE Index, which tracks developed stock markets overseas, dipped 0.75%.

Stocks Buffeted by Crosswinds 
Stocks rode a roller coaster last week, reacting to a conflicting stream of corporate events and economic data. Investors were optimistic on Monday about the ability of mega-cap technology companies to thrive in an uncertain economy, but worried on Tuesday about pending Congressional testimony involving the CEOs of these firms. On the economic front, a strong June durable goods orders report on Monday bolstered investor sentiment. But the optimism faded on a disappointing jobless claims number and a troubling second-quarter GDP number that – while anticipated – was a bit unsettling. Following some exceptional earnings results from the mega-cap technology companies, stocks managed to rally in the final hour of trading on Friday.

U.S. Dollar Continues Its Decline 
Since peaking in mid-March, the U.S. dollar has dropped nearly 9%. Some of the potential beneficiaries of a weak dollar are global American businesses whose products and services become less expensive in overseas markets. Conversely, international companies may suffer lower sales in the U.S. as their products become more expensive. It’s a mixed bag of potential outcomes, but Wall Street has become more and more focused on the dollar’s trajectory. 
Share info about your business…
Central Pinellas BizReach 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).

What: Central Pinellas BizReach 
Who: All Chamber members are eligible to provide business updates and special member-to-member offers/discounts.
When: Central Pinellas BizReach is distributed weekly on Fridays. Provide information/updates by noon the Wednesday prior. 
How: Provide the following via email to Kelvin Mack at events@CentralChamber.biz 
1. Business Name
2. Current business operations (i.e. restaurant with take out only from 9a to 9p).
3. Member offerings/discounts etc. (i.e. 20% off for chamber members, free webinar series on working remote, 20% of for first responders, etc.).
4. Images in jpg or png format with offer will be accepted. Please keep the image 3" x 3" in respect to others.
Email events@CentralChamber.biz or call 727-584-2321 
Schedule a “We’re Back”, Grand Opening, etc. Ribbon-Cutting

Celebrate your return to business, company achievement or your grand opening with a Chamber Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony. Cost is $150. Includes photo/video placement on Chamber social media platforms and a copy for your business to share.  Call us to book a date/time today! We recently commemorated the Source 1 Solutions' new Global Technical Services Center in Clearwater. The expanded state-of-the-art space is adjacent to its global headquarters.It's great to belong!
Mask Distribution Locations

Cloth face masks are available on a first come, first served basis at the following Central Pinellas locations. You’re encouraged to call before heading out to check mask availability. The county said supplies are limited and “will be replenished as often as possible.”
Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Dr., Largo, (727) 587-6715
Highpoint Neighborhood Family Center, 5812 150th Ave. N., Clearwater, (727) 533-0730
Clearwater Main Library, 100 N. Osceola Ave., Clearwater, (727) 562-4970
Barbara S. Ponce Public Library, 7770 52nd St. N., Pinellas Park, (727) 369-0669
Chamber Office Open (but wear a mask)
The Chamber’s 801 West Bay Drive, Largo office is now open for regular business.  However, we require that you wear a mask to enter for your safety and ours.  This is a public building, and visitors need to take an elevator to get to our 6th floor headquarters.
Please note our hours of operation effective June 29 until further notice. 

Chamber Summer Office Hours
Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed Friday
The Weekly E-Connection is made possible by the following generous sponsors:
We’re about Value!

A new Chamber program year is upon us! And we’ll be continuing to tout our five “value” principles and how each relates to being part of the organization.
           Value of Investment - The Chamber brings members valuable cost-savings resources that directly impact their bottom line. From member-to-member discounts to affinity partnerships - all are designed to lower the cost of doing business.
           Value of Information – The Chamber brings members unique resources. Roundtable discussions, workshops, advocacy on local and state issues, contacts, reference to other businesses, expertise, etc. Information that is timely and relevant to the success of all business operations.
           Value of Influence – The Chamber represents the interests of its members and communities. Whether at the local, state or federal level, it is the advocate on all issues of importance to business.
           Value of Interaction – The Chamber provides its members opportunity. People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Networking events, B2B programs, and partnerships foster relationships that encourage leads, referrals and more business for our members.
           Value of Impact – The Chamber is one of the few, if not the only, organization that can impact the three main pillars in its service area – government, citizens, and businesses. We deliver results that directly benefit our members.
If you would like to assist in volunteering on a committee to help influence these values, just give us a call. It’s another sure way to build business connections. It really is great to belong!
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Contact Kelvin at the Chamber, 727.584.2321 or events@centralchamber.biz