Good Morning Valued Chamber Member,
It was extremely difficult to watch the events that played out in our Nation’s Capitol on Wednesday. If there ever was a time for our country to come together - it would be now. Enough is enough - from everyone - on all sides. Because of our democracy, we are blessed to live, work, learn, and play in the greatest country on the planet. We need to move forward and continue to be the country that all others aspire to be. We are equally blessed to be in a state and community that is an example for all others. The business community will continue to be the driving force to keep us on track moving in the right direction and we will work with our local and state leaders to ensure it.
In an effort to provide COVID liability protection for Florida businesses, Senator Jeff Brandes and Representative Lawrence McClure filed legislation this past Wednesday in the form of Senate Bill 72 and House Bill 7. The House bill has already been calendared for a hearing next Wednesday, January 13th. The Boca Raton Chamber is advocating for business liability protection against frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19. We are committed to working with the Florida legislature and our local Palm Beach County legislative delegation to move these bills through the proper channels and to the Governor’s desk.
Senator Joe Gruters has filed Senate Bill 50, which would require the collection and remittance of sales tax on online purchases by out-of-state vendors with sales of more than $100,000 in Florida. The bill also defines and requires marketplace providers to collect and remit sales tax to the state. This Boca Chamber backed bill would help bring over $500 million in uncollected sales tax to the state and level the playing field for our brick-and-mortar businesses.
In preparation for the upcoming legislative activity in Tallahassee, House and Senate leaders released safety protocols for visitors to the Capitol and meetings of the public during committee weeks. As expected, due to COVID-19, meetings of the legislature will look quite different in 2021. Senate protocols for the interim committee weeks can be found here and House protocols here.
Governor DeSantis announced this week the launch of a test pilot program with Publix stores in three counties (Marion, Citrus, and Hernando) to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines within their stores. The vaccine program would start with those three counties for residents 65 and older through appointments online. If this program is successful, it has the potential to have a significant impact throughout the state of Florida. Additionally, Governor DeSantis announced Hard Rock Stadium as the first state-operated COVID-19 drive-thru vaccination site. The site will offer the vaccine to all individuals 65 years of age and older, as well as frontline health care workers. The site will offer 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine per day free of charge. All individuals will be asked to make an appointment and are encouraged to bring a government-issued form of identification and health insurance information to the site (a government-issued ID does not need to be a Florida Driver’s License). To schedule an appointment, call 1-888-499-0840.
Limited doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been reaching the State of Florida because of supply logistics at the Federal level. The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) has stated that at this time the state only receives notifications of planned allocations a week in advance, which limits their abilities to schedule appointments and limits the doses each county receives. Currently, only 25,000 COVID-19 doses have been sent to Palm Beach County with a population of 1.5 million. Out of Flordia's 67 counties, Palm Beach County has been fast-tracked to 8th to receive the vaccine. At this time, no doses are being sent directly to municipalities.
The YMCA of South Palm Beach County announced the opening of The Lab: YMCA Leadership Academy. The Lab, located at the Town Center at Boca Raton, behind Joseph's Market, will offer year-round leadership development programming for local youth, ages 12 to 17, with a focus on preparing them to succeed and serve through civic engagement, college and career readiness, and workforce development.
Looking for a quick way to find an event, register for an event, and receive pop-up notifications of important Chamber, County, City of Boca Raton, and City of Boynton Beach information? Download the Boca Chamber App – found on the App Store and Google Play Store. Keep your Chamber at the tip of your fingers! You can also stay up to date on all Chamber activity by visiting us at bocachamber.com.
We continue to provide you with valuable educational webinars and virtual experiences, with most being recorded and available for you to access on the Boca Chamber’s YouTube Channel. Hit the subscribe button to find out when new content is posted on our channel.
Below is a list of our upcoming virtual and in-person experiences:
1/13 - 12:00 p.m. Virtual Boynton Beach Lunch and Learn
Sponsor: iThink Financial
Topic: Connecting you to your audience with great storytelling
Speaker: Jonathan Garber, Flying Chimp Media
1/14 - 7:30 a.m. In-Person January Membership Breakfast
Sponsor: Saint Andrews School
Speaker: Ethan Shapiro, Head of School, Saint Andrew’s School
Boca Raton Marriott at Boca Center
5150 Town Center Circle
Boca Raton, FL 33486
1/15 - 8:30 a.m. Virtual Prime Professionals Group Round Table
Sponsor: Allegiance Home Health
Topic: Covid and the Workplace
Speaker: Brian Altschuler, VP of Ancillary Operations Administration, Boca Raton Regional Hospital
1/19 - 3:00 p.m. Virtual Combined Government Affairs and Economic Development Committee Meeting
Topic: BLU-PAC Endorsed, Business-Friendly Boca Raton City Council Candidates
Speakers: Constance Scott, Candidate, Boca Raton City Council Seat C & Brian Stenberg, Candidate, Boca Raton City Council Seat D
Sponsor: Memorial Health
Topic: Staying Active For Life
Speaker: Amy Long, The Exercise Coach
1/20- 4:30 p.m. Virtual Young Entrepreneur’s Academy CEO Roundtable and Elevator Pitch Competition
Local CEOs talk about how they navigated the effects of the coronavirus to keep moving business forward. Following the CEO Roundtable, the Young Entrepreneurs will promote their businesses in the elevator competition. This is a must-see event!
1/21 – 11:45 a.m. In-Person Successful Women In Business Luncheon
Topic: Silver Linings: Turning Lemons into an LLC
Speaker: Ashley Brown, Founder The Event Collective
Wyndham Hotel - Boca Raton
1950 Glades Road / Wyndham Way
Boca Raton, FL 33431
1/22 - 8:30 a.m. Virtual Boynton Beach Women’s Business Council
Topic: Five Free Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Bottom Line in Today’s Economy!
Speaker: Christina Grenga, Managing Partner Schooley Mitchell
As our virtual and in-person programming ramps up in 2021, we are excited the Chamber’s Golden Bell Education Foundation’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy will host its virtual CEO Round Table & Elevator Pitch Competition on Wednesday, January 20th from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Six local CEOs will share how they have navigated the effects of the coronavirus while keeping their businesses moving forward! Remain on the Zoom and watch the Young Entrepreneurs pitch their business in the elevator pitch competition. Additionally, the highly coveted Leadership Boca program is officially open for applications. Leadership Boca is designed to elevate the awareness and knowledge of civic-minded individuals regarding local issues that drive the economy, education, and overall success of our community. This nine-week comprehensive program includes seven themed sessions in the areas of Economic Development, Education, Government, Culture & Tourism, and more. Enrollment is limited to 25 participants for the 2021 class. The deadline for preliminary application is January 22, 2021.
As always, thank you for making Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, and all South Palm Beach County the best place to Live, Work, Learn and Play!
Moving Business Forward,