GSSCC 2021 Circle of Stars - Call for Nominations
In late July, at the 2021 Awards & Installation Dinner (date and time to be announced soon), GSSCC will honor the newest inductees into its “Circle of Stars,” a select group of for-profit businesses that continue to make Silver Spring a better place to live, work, and run a business. These members have demonstrated remarkable resilience, sustainability, and/or transformation during the past year. The Circle of Stars also recognizes those companies that continue to do well through doing good, be it through service to the community, stewardship of local and global resources, and/or support of non-profit community organizations or causes.

The Chamber welcomes members to submit an application or nominate a fellow member company to be considered for this honor. Click here for the application form. Deadline for nominations is Friday, June 25, 2021.
COVID-19 Business News
Employers Get Answers to Vaccination Questions

Business concerns about continuing to require masks, whether to mandate that employees return to the office, and whether they can ask for proof of vaccination were among the questions answered by a panel of experts at the Vaccination Information Town Hall last week, co-hosted by four local chambers and the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Because Montgomery County vaccination rates are high, all but a few business restrictions have been lifted. Masks are no longer required in most settings for those who are fully vaccinated. Exceptions include: transit, schools, health care settings, and child-care facilities. However, businesses are allowed to implement their own mask requirements. Business owners may want to identify specific community health metrics to determine when they will lift mask mandates for their customers.

On hand to address various employer concerns was Michael Neary, Lerch, Early & Brewer. These are outlined below. (Note: this should not be considered legal advice; it is compiled from GSSC staff notes from the Town Hall.).
 
  • Employers are allowed to mandate that employees come back to the office.
  • Employers are allowed to ask employees IF they have been vaccinated.
  • Employers may NOT ask WHY an employee is not vaccinated.
  • Employers are allowed to ask employees for proof of vaccination.
  • All inquiries about employees' vaccination status must be private.
  • Employers are allowed to mandate that employees be vaccinated as long as there is a private pathway for employees to request an accommodation for health reasons (per ADA regulations) or religious reasons (Title 7, Civil Rights Act). 
  • The issue arises when an employee refuses to be vaccinated or to provide proof of vaccination. Both ADA and Title 7 allow for further inquiry, but it is a delicate matter. Experts on the panel advised that employers in this situation should consult with human resources or an outside advisor.
  • Also in question is whether employers should require non-vaccinated employees to wear a mask. If they are not vaccinated due to health or religious reasons, asking them to wear a mask may be considered an invasion of privacy or targeting them because of their stated health concerns or religious beliefs.
  • Employers may want to provide paid time off for employees to get the vaccine or to recovery from any side effects. Note that employers can claim a tax credit for providing paid leave in connection with COVID. 
  • Businesses should not share the vaccination status of their employees with customers or the general public.

A recording of the Town Hall will be available soon. Contact Julie Pawlikowski for a link.
Upcoming Events
One of the Chamber’s most popular networking opportunities is back!

Connect@Lunch offers members

  • 3 minutes to promote their business to an engaged audience 
  • Networking with fellow members 
  • A delicious meal from a member restaurant 

Wednesday, June 23, at 12 noon

Price is just $25 for members. Space is limited to 25 attendees and only two representatives per company, so secure your spot by registering now!
Young Professionals Network Happy Hour & Meeting
Join fellow young professionals for an exploratory in-person meeting to reconnect, discuss upcoming events and meetings, and build interest in the group. Staff will provide a brief overview of the YPN for those new to the group.

The meeting will be hosted in the Chamber conference room with beer, wine, and light snacks provided. Members can also Zoom into the event if they prefer.

Thursday, June 24
4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The GSSCC cordially invites Chamber members to join us for the first in-person GSSCC 101: Member Orientation event of 2021.

This event is for new members or new representatives of member companies with a maximum of two per business. This is a perfect opportunity to learn how to make the most of your membership investment, connect with your fellow Chamber members, and meet the GSSCC staff.

Wednesday, July 21
8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Chamber Conference Room
Golfer and sponsorship opportunities available soon! Email Julie Pawlikowski with questions.
Latest News
GSSCC Proud to be Among Sponsors for AFI DOCS

GSSCC is once again delighted to be among the sponsors for AFI DOCS film festival, held June 22-27, 2021. Movie fans will be ale to view more than 75 of the year’s best documentaries online at DOCS.AFI.com, as well as in-person screenings at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Select films will be available with closed captioning and descriptive audio. The festival program will include world premieres and works by master and emerging filmmakers alike. Passes to AFI Docs are on sale here and view the full program and schedule here.
* Improbable Comedy has a limited number of spots for local businesses to sponsor their June 30 show, Blaire Postman: Struggling Chartist. Benefits include digital promotion to over 5,000 local viewers, recognition in the show program, tickets to the show and after-party as well as a personalized promo flip chart for your business. Contact Kim for more information at improbablecomedy@gmail.com.

* Congratulations to Benjamin Wu, Montgomery County Economic Development Center President and CEO, on recently being selected by The Daily Record as one of "2021’s Influential Marylanders," recognized in the business category. Read here for the list of winners.

* Levine Music has announced the appointment of Jeffery L. Tribble, Jr. as President & CEO effective July 1, 2021. He succeeds Peter Jablow who retires at the end of June, concluding an 18-year tenure of distinguished leadership. Read here for more information.

* Fairland Animal Hospital began the process of reopening on Monday, June 7, and have new COVID-19 protocols. Read the announcement here.
______________________________________

See your company's news here! Send us your news releases and news items by noon on Friday for publication in the following Monday's edition. Click here for guidelines on submitting Member News.
Upcoming Committee/Network Meetings

* Membership Development Committee Virtual Meeting - 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 22.

* Economic Development Committee Virtual Meeting - 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 23.

* Young Professionals Network Happy Hour & Meeting - 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 24. (Advance registration required here.)

* Small Business Owners Network Virtual Meeting - 12 noon on Thursday, July 1. Topic: Using your financial reports to get insight into your business. (Advance registration required here).

* Non-Profit Team Virtual Meeting - 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 13.
OUR MISSION:
Working to enhance the economic prosperity of greater Silver Spring through robust promotion of 
our member businesses and unrelenting advocacy 
on their behalf.
Thank you to our 2019-2020 GSSCC Partners

Corporate Partners - Downtown Silver Spring; Lee Development Group; Montgomery College; Joseph W. McCartin Insurance;
Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center.

 Business Partners - Andalman & Flynn, AFI Silver Theatre; Apex Home 
Loans; Atlantech Online; Digital Industry; EagleBank; Holy Cross Hospital; The Fillmore Silver Spring; Lerch, Early & Brewer Chtd.; United Therapeutics Corporation; Washington Property Company.

 Partners - Bell Flowers; EBA Ernest Bland Associates; Image360; Peak Performance Digital; Scott Team International.
Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce
8601 Georgia Avenue Suite 203
301-565-3777
info@gsscc.org