Volume 28 l July 2020
 Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

Economic Development & Advocacy Edition 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!
Leading the way!
Among the Chamber’s first in-person meetings is our Pinellas Southwest Leads Team at Village Inn on Walsingham.  Here Jeff Cross of Cross Signs talks to members on the meeting’s virtual platform along with Team Captain Karen Gonzalez of Business & Family Insurors.  We are beginning to bring folks together again at some of our other meetings using this hybrid format – in person and virtual.  Our plan is to slowly establish the Chamber’s “temporary normal” based on each person’s comfort level.  To learn more about the Chamber’s committees and how you can take part, please call 727-584-2321 or email  Tom@CentralChamber.biz .
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 6 th 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
Share info about your business…
Central Pinellas BizReach Connection
Several weeks ago, we launched a second weekly newsletter BizReach to share member-to-member news during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’re continuing it as the reopening phases move forward.
           For a fee of only $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.bi z
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
From our partners at the Florida Chamber Foundation:

Please Take This Brief Anonymous Workforce Survey

Together, we can build a diverse workforce that provides opportunity for all Floridians. The Able Trust, one of the Florida Chamber Foundation's  Community Development Partners , is dedicated to being a key leader in providing opportunities for successful employment for Floridians with disabilities - especially as we relaunch Florida through the changing COVID-19 workforce environment. 

Please take a few minutes to complete this  important anonymous survey now, as it closes Friday, July 17. Please also share this survey with your chamber members, as well as other business leaders so they can participate in securing Florida's future. 

This survey will close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020.
Paycheck Protection Program saved 3.2 million Florida jobs, according to SBA data
At least $25 billion in interest-free government loans from the Paycheck Protection Program went to Florida small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Monday by the Small Business Administration. And the federal taxpayer money saved at least 3.2 million jobs around the state, according to data that was self-reported by businesses and sent to the SBA. [Source:  Miami Herald ]

Florida to install charging stations for electric vehicles
TALLAHASSEE — More than two dozen charging stations will be installed along Florida’s busiest roads, paid for by the state’s share of a U.S. government settlement with Volkswagen after the German automaker violated the country’s car emissions standards. During a Friday news conference at a service plaza along the Florida Turnpike in Orlando, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state will spend $8.6 million of Florida's $166 million settlement on the charging stations. In all, the state expects to spend $25 million for charging stations as part of a program that state officials said is intended to strengthen Florida's electric vehicle infrastructure. The first installment of funding will allow 27 charging stations to be installed along Florida’s major interstates, including the state’s two longest — Interstates 75 and 95.

U.S. Markets -- Stock prices climbed higher in June, as investors looked beyond an increase in COVID-19 cases as well as reports that several states planned to slow the pace of their economic re-opening. 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.69%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index tacked on 1.84%. The Nasdaq Composite, already up 6.75% in May, rose another 5.99%.  1
Momentum Lost -- Stocks opened the month higher, but the momentum quickly stalled, as states struggled to re-open their economies while facing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Investor sentiment was further dampened by a subdued forecast of economic recovery issued by the Federal Reserve. 
Focus Shifted – But the market turned and rallied on a series of upbeat news announcements. First, by the Fed, which said that it would extend its bond-buying program to include the debt of individual companies. Second, a strong retail sales report buoyed spirits. And finally, the news of an effective COVID-19 treatment for critically ill patients strengthened investor sentiment. 
Bump Up in COVID-19 – Market direction reversed late in the month, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Florida, Texas, and California, which prompted some states to roll back their re-opening plans.  However, stocks still closed out the month strong, posting back-to-back gains to cement a solid showing. 
Bars Closed Statewide

Florida shut down bars on June 26 to slow the spread of coronavirus, after the state reported a single-day record of new infections. The announcement came from Halsey Beshears, secretary of the Department of Business & Professional Regulation that regulates Florida bars. He made the announcement via tweet that effectively banned all on-premise alcohol consumption immediately. Read the Emergency Order here: https://files.constantcontact.com/aaf15048001/4438a3a8-aa44-4d23-845b-543a59570ca8.pdf
Face Masks Required in Pinellas

The Pinellas order to wear face coverings applies to all persons countywide while in indoor public places; however, it specified that all persons who own, manage or are employed by any restaurant or bar within the county are required to wear a face covering at all times while on-duty and directly or indirectly preparing food or beverage, or serving food or beverage, or having customer contact, regardless of where the food or beverage is being prepared or whether the customer contact is inside an indoor public place or outdoors, such as on a patio or sidewalk. Full Ordinance here: https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Adopted-ORD-20-14.pdf
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
Follow Facts,
Not Fear
       Your Chamber and our partners at the Florida Chamber of Commerce urge you to be cautious but not fearful when it comes to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Florida Chamber is the official state chapter of the National Safety Council, and we are all committed to helping keep Floridians safe. The safety of our collective employees is paramount, and they deserve the facts.
            A website is available with regularly updated information. It includes important links from Governor DeSantis’ office, the Emergency Operations Center, Centers for Disease Control, Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Please visit and add to your bookmarks:  https://www.flchamber.com/follow-facts-not-fear/
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!
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