November 2020
Support for Public-Private Partnership Legislation for Infrastructure Investment

The Bay Area and Saginaw County Chambers partnered with regional businesses and organizations on a letter sent to members of both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives in support of Senate Bills 1215-1218, Public-Private Partnerships for Infrastructure Investment. The contents of the letter read as follows:

To: Honorable Members of the Michigan Senate & House of Representatives
From: Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Bay Future, Inc., BAC Local 2 Saginaw, Consumers
Energy, Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, I.B.E.W. Local 692, I.B.E.W. Local 948, LiUNA Local
1098, McLaren Bay Region, Michigan Sugar Company, Operating Engineers Local 324, Saginaw
County Chamber of Commerce, Saginaw Valley State University, UA Local 85

Date: November 11, 2020

Re: Support SBs 1215-1218, Public-Private Partnerships for Infrastructure Investment

Our organizations, comprised of business, organized labor, higher education and membership organizations, strongly support legislation related to public-private partnerships for municipal infrastructure in Michigan.
Michigan’s economic competitiveness, job creation and the health and safety of citizens depends on the implementation of effective strategies to construct and maintain safe, reliable and affordable infrastructure. Unfortunately, Michigan’s infrastructure repair needs greatly exceed the available public funding at all levels of government. Now more than ever, many cities in Michigan have limited resources and few options for critical infrastructure needs when state or federal funding is not available. In many cases, cities are forced to close or restrict access to infrastructure when financing options are not available.

We support sustainable, long-term solutions to address infrastructure challenges in Michigan that do not impede continued economic growth and activity. Infrastructure is an essential component to attracting and retaining business. Despite Michigan’s positive economic growth before COVID-19, infrastructure investment did not keep pace. This investment is critical to a community's ability to attract and retain businesses and talent, as communities that are growing invest in infrastructure and invest in long-term progress.

We advocate for economic development in all sectors and support policies at the local, state and national levels that will help us attract, retain and expand businesses in the state. Private investment in projects, including Bay City’s Independence and Liberty Bridges, will stimulate the economy and create good paying jobs while maintaining critical transportation links that are essential to area businesses and residents. The Independence Bridge is a concrete example of this, helping drive both our local and regional economies. From tourists to agribusiness, the connection between M-15 and I-75 is paramount to regaining the economic momentum in Bay City and the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Investing in Michigan’s infrastructure is critical to our economic recovery, prosperity and quality of life.  We urge you to pass the proposed legislation that will provide cities in Michigan with an innovative financing mechanism to address our infrastructure needs and build for the future.
As businesses continue to deal with the ever-changing COVID-10 restrictions, the Bay Area and Saginaw County Chambers of Commerce continue to engage with policy leaders on your behalf and encourage support of our small and local businesses during this difficult time.
Bay County Updates

“Buy Local Buy BC” Gift Card Stimulus Program Relaunches


As new COVID-19 restrictions have been put into place, The Bay Area Chamber of
Commerce (BACC) and Bay Future, Inc. (BFI) are reinstituting the “Buy BC” Gift Card program to help area small businesses. The two non-profits saw the impact this $120,000 program had on local
businesses and understand the limitations businesses continue to face.

“Small businesses throughout our community are at a critical tipping point and are having to make difficult decisions that not only impact their livelihood and their families but may impact our community
for years into the future. They need coordinated resources and partnerships that can alleviate that burden. We are honored to be a leading part in that coordinated effort with them through the relaunch of BUY BC,” said Trevor Keyes, Bay Future, Inc. President & CEO.

BACC and BFI have been working collaboratively and aggressively to assist businesses in Bay City and Bay
County throughout the pandemic. Like the initial program, Buy Local, Buy BC will continue to offer consumers an additional 25 percent in purchasing power at local businesses with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to area businesses.

“Local businesses continue to face changing restrictions on capacity at the worst possible time. Given the phenomenal success of the Buy BC program, we saw an opportunity to make a near immediate
impact for our small business community as we encourage everyone to Buy Local this holiday season,”
said Ryan Tarrant, President & CEO of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

How Buy BC Works
BACC and BFI worked to find investors to create a stimulus, Buy BC, fund.


Gift cards will be available in $20 increments. For every $20 gift card purchased, the Buy BC “fund” will provide an additional 25 percent to the gift certificate to that same business at no added expense to the purchaser or business. Customers will be able to purchase a $25 gift card for $20.

Customers will be able to purchase these gift cards on a first-come-first-served basis until the gift cards are sold out. BACC and BFI will update the public on the availability of gift cards throughout the sale. The 
website will be live and gift cards available for purchase beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25.

Gift cards can be purchased here.

For questions regarding the Buy BC program, please contact Jodi LaMont jodi@baycityarea.com or (989)893-4567.




Saginaw County Updates

Saginaw Chamber Launches Living Local Campaign
All Living Local Promotion is Free To Members

In an effort to support local businesses during the holidays and through the challenges presented by COVID-19, the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce is relaunching the Living Local Campaign.

Living Local is a series of free promotions designed to showcase products, services, and holiday specials available from our Chamber Members. The program serves to both support and promote local businesses. Below is a list of promotional benefits you can use to showcase your business.

Holiday Happenings –
Members send us their holiday specials, and we include them in a special weekly email publication to Chamber members through the month of December. This is a great promotion vehicle for use by restaurants, pubs, clubs, caterers, entertainment venues and arts organizations to promote holiday specials and entertainment. It’s also a great source of things to do and ideas for meals, snacks and gifts provided by Chamber members. To be included, send information about your special promotion to info@SaginawChamber.org. Information can be in the form of an email, pdf flyer or ad and inclusion is Free but limited to Chamber members only.

Living Local Coupons -
This list of coupons and special offers is presented on the Saginaw Chamber website as well as linked to the Chamber's At A Glance Weekly Newsletter which is distributed to a mailing list of over 3,000 individuals. Any member may post a coupon or special offer from their business at any time free of charge. You do not need to be a Chamber member to utilize a coupon. To post a coupon on the website, you will need to use your Chamber username and password to gain access. Email info@SaginawChamber.org for help or if you do not know your username and password.

Member Events -
Similar to Living Local Coupons, members may post their events to the Chamber's Member Events list which appears on the home page of the Chamber website and in the weekly At A Glance newsletter. Email your event information to info@SaginawChamber.org.

Member News -
If your business has new programs, new employees, an expansion or other big news to share, send the information to info@SaginawChamber.org for inclusion on the Chamber's Member News page. The newest news items appear on the homepage of the Chamber's website which links to the Member News webpage where older items reside. New posts are also included in the At A Glance weekly Newsletter.

Additional efforts to promote local business include -

  • Live Local - Buy Local - Shop Local PSA running on Chamber partner radio stations
  • Billboard thanking consumers for shopping locally
  • Special Thirsty Thursdays Facebook promotion of member bars, taverns, liquor stores, and clubs offering holiday specials
  • Announcements at Percolator Breakfast to encourage member businesses to both participate and shop locally
  • A Member Restaurant List with hours and services including take-out, drive thru, and delivery on the Covid Resource Page of the Chamber website
  • Daily Facebook postings featuring member programs, services, announcements, and offers.
Ryan Tarrant, President/CEO
Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
989-893-4567
Veronica Horn, President/CEO
Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce
989-752-7161
STATE GOVERNMENT UPDATES
State Further Clarifies Guidance on Remote Work, Requires Employers to Demonstrate ‘Infeasibility’
From Michigan Chamber of Commerce "Advocacy News"

MIOSHA recently tightened their stance on how they will enforce the remote work requirements set out in the epidemic orders issued by the State of Michigan.

While MIOSHA previously said they “will not focus on evaluating the business’ judgment of feasibility, except for cases of obvious misapplication,” their new stance says otherwise. MIOSHA’s new position is much stricter than previously issued guidance. The State will now require an employer to prove feasibility of remote work and issue a policy accordingly.

MDHHS also published an infographic that states that “manufacturing, construction, [or] other work that is impossible to do remotely” can remain open, while those workplaces where “work can be done from home” cannot open.

The new MIOSHA language is consistent with DHHS informal guidance issued on November 6, 2020.
MDHHS Issues Three-Week Epidemic Order to Address Surge in COVID Cases

New order limits indoor and outdoor gatherings where COVID-19 is more likely to spread from person to person

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new emergency order Sunday evening that enacts a three-week pause targeting indoor social gatherings and other group activities in an effort to curb rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates.

Governor Whitmer, Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, and MDHHS Director Robert Gordon held a press conference to announce and discuss details of the order which include gathering and capacity restrictions, mask requirements and in-person class restrictions for education. Some of the regulations include the following:
  • 3-week mandated closing of entertainment venues, recreational facilities and indoor dining at bars and restaurants;
  • 30% capacity limit for retail stores, libraries and museums;
  • 25% capacity at exercise facilities with 12 feet between workout stations and no group classes;
  • personal service businesses such as spas, salons, massage and piercing facilities must be by appointment only and masks must be worn for the duration of the service;
  • in-person classes at public, non-public and boarding schools may continue for Pre-K through 8th grade but are prohibited for high school (grades 9-12) and college students; and
  • school sports and extracurricular activities are suspended;

Additional regulations and restrictions are included in the full MDHHS emergency order

The order takes effect on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 12:01 AM, and remains in effect through December 8, 2020 at 11:59 PM.

On behalf of our members, the Bay Area and Saginaw County Chambers of Commerce will continue to monitor public policy that impacts our region, our communities and most importantly, your business!