It has been eventful few weeks since my last new newsletter. I hope all of you had great holidays and stayed safe. I have a lot of updates for you so grab a cup of coffee and get ready!

This week’s article is from As a New York Giants fan, the topic caught my eye: “How NFL Star Michael Strahan is Bringing His Legendary Hustle to the Business World.” You don’t have to be a Giants fan to enjoy this article! 
The Chamber has drafted a position statement to protect our members and the community against fraudulent business liability litigation due to COVID-19. You can see our statement here.

The Florida Chamber shared that that initial legislation offering COVID-19 liability protections for employers were filed by the House and Senate, HB 7 and SB 72, filed by Representative Lawrence McClure and Senator Jeff Brandes.  
Some updates from the U.S. Chamber

The U.S. Chamber has created a “Guide for Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans.” It includes the latest information and answers to FAQs about the changes that have been made to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Program as part of the end-of-year pandemic relief package Congress has passed. 

The U.S. Chamber also created a one-pager with accurate and current information about the vaccine allocation process, expected timelines, and what it all means for the road to recovery. The U.S. Chamber will continue to update this resource as new information becomes available.  
The FutureMakers Coalition’s goal is to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the percentage of working age (25-64 year old) adults that hold the post-high school credentials to 55% by 2025. The articles shared here were also in last Sunday's News-Press, but I wanted to share in case you missed it. An amazing example of community collaboration!  
We are working with our partners at Lee Health and sharing their vaccine updates as they are received. I encourage you to follow our Facebook page for updates.

Here is the latest information that came in on Thursday afternoon:

Lee Health is working with the state, Lee County and the Department of Health Lee County to vaccinate people as quickly as possible while following the Governor’s current executive order. Lee Health is currently handling niche populations like their employees, volunteers, health care workers not employed by Lee Health and Lee Physician Group (LPG) patients who are over the age of 65 or have significant co-morbidities that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus. LPG is reaching out to eligible patients to schedule appointments. Lee County has a well-organized vaccination site at RSW, and they are currently handling the general public who meet the same criteria.
Lee Health also shared that their Blood Centers have a severe shortage due to the pandemic. All blood donated at Lee Health stays within their health system to care for patients in Southwest Florida. Blood donations are essential for trauma and cancer patients. To learn how and where to donate, please click here or call 239-343-2333 for more information. We are hosting a blood drive here at the Chamber on Monday, January 26 if you want to join us!  
The Horizon Council, Horizon Foundation and Lee County Economic Development Office (EDO) have extended the deadline for applications for the 2021 Industry Appreciation Awards (IAA), which celebrate the Lee County business community and recognize outstanding local businesses that have positively influenced Southwest Florida. The honorees and finalists will be recognized during the annual IAA luncheon on Friday, May 14, 2021, at Caloosa Sound Convention Center in downtown Fort Myers. Applications must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on January 15, 2021. Learn about the award categories and access the application here.
One of our favorite Chamber members (Angus Scott) and his family got some press in Grandeur magazine this month

I must admit that the holidays were great for me. BFFE (best friend forever extraordinaire) Kelly came in from Arizona for 10 days and we had the best time. Elizabeth was also home for about a week, so for me it was the perfect “storm.”

Kelly and I took a different path for Christmas gifts this year and exchanged local craft beer. She brought me an amazing beer from SanTan Brewery called Winter Warmer (it comes with its own cookies) – imagine Christmas in a can. I drove around SWFL and picked up beers from everywhere, but the favorites were from Chamber members Fort Myers Brewing – KegNog (another Christmas beer) and Palm City Brewing, who had a Watermelon Sour on tap. Kelly and Elizabeth are all about the sours, but for me it is the IPA’s.  

This quality time with them has me recharged for this upcoming year. The Chamber and the team are set for an amazing year and some new programming and events are coming your way!

If you are looking for a way to get involved, please connect with me.

Stay safe,