First Thing Monday Morning - March 23, 2020
A Message from your Chamber President 

Good morning, 

I hope that you were able to enjoy a restful weekend with your families. Thankfully there were not many additional mandates handed down over the weekend, but I wanted to provide you with an update on a few things. 

Polk County Government  did put out a notice that effective at sunset on Saturday, March 21,  all county parks and natural resource facilities will be closed until further notice . This includes parks with playgrounds and recreational leagues, environmental lands and trails such as Fort Frasier, campgrounds, dog parks, the shooting range, History Center, Circle B Bar Reserve, Bone Valley ATV Park, Homeland Heritage Park, and our resource centers. I did ask a follow-up question about boat ramps, as that is very important to our community, and was informed that only 6 of the county's 50 or so boat ramps would be closed behind a gate of an adjacent park. I know for many of you boating is an important part of the balance of social distancing and mental health. Other counties have been forced to close their boat ramps as people create flotilla parties. Let's not be those people and have this taken away from us too. 

The pending "phase 3" federal legislation now called the "CARES" Act had further negotiations over the weekend and is expected to make its way to the Senate floor early this week. There are many things addressed in the bill but of particular interest, if the  Small Business "Paycheck Protection Plan"  which would provide an SBA Loan to help employers with 500 or less employees cover costs such as payroll, rent, utilities and as long as the employer maintains their average full-time equivalent employment the payroll portion of their loan will be forgiven. There are also provisions for relief on  delaying some business taxes, banking relief, individual payments, unemployment and an increase in unemployment benefits and adjustments to the paid leave provisions in the first bill.  Read the full CARES Act summary as of Sunday night here.    Once the final bill is passed I will send you a final update on that bill. 

Most of Governor DeSantis' actions this weekend were related to setting up additional testing sites and trying to control the state's "hot spots" in Broward and Miami-Dade. He also released an executive order loosening requirements for county and city governments to hold in-person meetings or have an in-person quorum.  Read the full update from the Governor here .

 Below you will find your First Thing Monday Morning. You'll notice there aren't any events listed right now, as so much of that is in flux. As soon as we can begin to promote upcoming events with some certainty we look forward to shouting it from the hilltops. We anticipate all events that have had to be postponed to be rescheduled for a later date. 

In the meantime - enjoy some good news. Take a look a the people helping people and catch up on the  It's Happenin' In the Haven Podcast !  

Please continue to keep us updated on your business and what we can do to help. 

All my best - 
Katie Worthington Decker 
Your Chamber President 
This Week at the Chamber
It's Happenin' In the Haven: Episode 10 -  Now Available.
Episode 10 - Leading through Civil Service we hear from County Commissioner Dr. Martha Santiago about her journey to Polk County, her life in public education and why she decided to run for County Commission. We also learn more about city and county leadership program with  Leadership Polk Director   Talitha Bean , Leadership Polk Alumnus Orathai Northern and  Polk Vision  Director Kim Long .

Listen now on   Spotify Apple Google Podcasts   and more.   Learn more about the podcast here !
Market Your Business
Share the Good News
Please continue to invest your dollars locally as we can help lift each other through these times. Several Facebook groups have cropped up promoting just this. See the links below to become a part of the movement.

Please note, the lists on the Chamber page are being continually updated as we are able to make contact with out members. If we haven't been able to connect yet, send an email to
The Winter Haven Sun, Polk News-Sun and Four Corners News-Sun are offering a FREE ad to any business to let our readers know they are still open for business and what they are doing to serve their clients — and keep them safe. Our publications have a combined footprint of 75,000 readers throughout East Polk County. 

To take advantage of this FREE offer, please contact Kim Edwards at or call 863-804-3277.
Polk County Public Schools cleaned out their inventory of masks to donate to area hospitals. School Board Member Sara Beth Reynolds and Superintendent Jackie Byrd, pictured here, coordinated donations and said in a post " Thank you to  Polk Career Academies , the  Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce , and  Winter Haven Hospital  for helping to coordinate collection from school sites and delivery today."
Celebrate the People
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Banker's Cup Citizens of the Year Award, Winter Haven's highest honor.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Banker's Cup Citizens of the Year Award, Winter Haven's highest honor. The awards will be given during the Celebrate Winter Haven event to be held Thursday,September 24, 2020. 
All nominations must be received by April 1, 2020.

Click here   to learn more about the Banker's Cup Award and nominate a deserving individual today!
Market Place
Thank You To Our
Community Investor Level Members