Volume 17 l April 2020
 Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

Advocacy & Economic Development Edition
Central Pinellas Chamber Upcoming Events
Check our home page for registrations, times and locations

In light of the ongoing pandemic, we are following CDC Guidelines and postponing events for the time being. Please stay tuned to our newsletter and social media outlets for event updates.
As the COVID-19 situation grinds on, your Chamber will continue to keep you in the loop on resources available. Our gatherings may have been curtailed for the time being, but we remain at your service. We’re all in this together!
We're Stronger Together!
Many Chambers and business associations in the region have united with a rallying call:  “We are in this together! We are stronger together! Thank you for supporting local businesses! And we challenge you to do the same.  Get your family, friends, employees, etc. to come up with a positive message as we slowly begin to “restart.” Then share it with the masses! 

Participating “We are Stronger Together” organizations seen in photo include, from top left to right, North Tampa Bay Chamber, Riverview Chamber, Brandon Chamber, Uptown Chamber, Tampa Bay Chamber; Ybor Chamber, Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber, South Tampa Chamber, Manatee County Chamber, Lakeland Chamber, Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber, Central Pinellas Chamber, Amplify Clearwater, Tampa Downtown Partnership, Westshore Alliance and Plant City Chamber.
PPP Additional Funds – The Facts!
An additional $320 billion was approved last week for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) resumed accepting Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan applications yesterday from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower. ( sba.gov/paycheckprotection ).
FYI: If I applied for the first round of funding, am I still in the running to get a loan? Do I need to reapply?  Yes, you are still in the queue to get a PPP loan, and  according to the Wall Street Journal , no, you do not have to apply again if your application didn’t get approved in the first round of funding. If you’re unsure, you can  check with your lender  to make sure that your initial application contained all the required information.
I haven’t applied yet. Is it still possible for me to get a loan?  Unfortunately,  experts are projecting  that all the funding from this round will be claimed by applicants already in the pool. However, we recommend that you apply just in case. At the very least, this will ensure that if additional funding rounds are approved in the future, your application will be in the queue.

Other available SBA Coronavirus Relief Resources for businesses can be found on the SBA website  here . The SBA loan applications can be found here
Additional information on available federal and state business resources may also be found at www.FloridaJobs.org/COVID-19 .
As Florida weighs reopening, public invited to share thoughts through online portal
Florida officials opened an online portal Saturday for the public to weigh in on reopening the state amid the coronavirus outbreak that has now shuttered schools and businesses for more than a month. In making the announcement, the governor's office said “public feedback will be a critical component” in the work of the Re-Open Florida Task Force, a panel charged by Gov. Ron DeSantis to help guide him in deciding whether to lift certain restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the virus.  You can provide your feedback here:  Florida COVID Restart Public Comment Portal
NEW! Central Pinellas BizReach…
Share your Business Offers/Services!
What:  Central Pinellas BizReach , a second weekly Chamber E-Connection newsletter starting this Friday, April 10.
Who: All Chamber members are eligible to provide business updates and special member-to-member offers/discounts.
When: Central Pinellas BizReach will be distributed weekly on Fridays through April and May. Provide information/updates by noon the Wednesday prior.
How:   Provide the following via email to Kelvin Mack at  events@CentralChamber.biz
1.    Business Name
2.    Current business operations (i.e. restaurant with take out only from 9a to 9p).
3.    Member offerings/discounts etc. (i.e. 20% off for chamber members, free webinar series on working remote, 20% of for first responders, etc.).
4.    Images in jpg or png format with offer will be accepted. Please keep the image small in respect to others.
Follow Facts,
Not Fear
       Your Chamber and our partners at the Florida Chamber of Commerce urge you to be cautious but not fearful when it comes to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Florida Chamber is the official state chapter of the National Safety Council, and we are all committed to helping keep Floridians safe. The safety of our collective employees is paramount, and they deserve the facts.
            A website is available with regularly updated information. It includes important links from Governor DeSantis’ office, the Emergency Operations Center, Centers for Disease Control, Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Please visit and add to your bookmarks:  https://www.flchamber.com/follow-facts-not-fear/
From Florida Tax Watch
State General Revenue Collections $202.4 Million Above Estimate
Some good news regarding state revenue and probably the last good news we will see on that front for a while. March General Revenue collections came in $61.3 million above the estimate made in January (the estimate the budget was based on), despite a slight reduction in sales taxes. For the year, the pre-COVID-19 economy was doing better than anticipated, and Florida is now $202.4 above estimate. The March sales tax collections mainly reflect February economic activity, so it’s a wait and see approach for the full COVID-19 effect.
                  The economic shutdown did not begin in earnest until mid-March, but state economists think the virus started materially impacting revenue the last week of February, leading to sales taxes falling just short of estimates ($12.1 million). However, almost all other sources exceeded expectations and they believe the overall positive result was likely influenced by people stockpiling goods in anticipation of the virus's arrival. This little added revenue cushion will help soften the blow of the inevitable revenue drop to come.
SpaceX already prepping for next crew mission to ISS ahead of May test run
SpaceX is already looking past next month’s planned landmark mission of its Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station. Currently slated for May 27, the mission from Kennedy Space Center will be the first time astronauts will launch from the United States on any mission since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.The highly anticipated mission will take NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon astronaut capsule and the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, outfitted with NASA’s 1970s “worm” logo to commemorate the milestone.
For a change, some Uplifting News!
Happy Birthday to the Largo Central Park
The Largo Central Park turned 25 years old on March 26th, 2020. The park would have been filled with thousands of people celebrating the years of memories, making new memories and ending with a fabulous firework show.

We’re counting the days until we can resume our amazing events and programs!
Join us weekly in our "Morning Connections" for virtual networking
Times are challenging while we're all staying safe in our homes and helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. Many of us are craving social and business connections. Your Chamber is holding events the only way we can right now, virtually! Join us on Tuesday mornings from 8 to 9am for our "Morning Connections" virtual networking events. We hold these via Zoom and you may find the registration links in our Facebook events. If you have any questions, please call your Chamber at 727.584.2321 or email Kelvin at: events@centralchamber.biz We hope to see you there!
The Weekly E-Connection is made possible by the following generous sponsors:
We’re about Value!

A new Chamber program year is upon us! And we’ll be continuing to tout our five “value” principles and how each relates to being part of the organization.
            Value of Investment - The Chamber brings members valuable cost-savings resources that directly impact their bottom line. From member-to-member discounts to affinity partnerships - all are designed to lower the cost of doing business.
            Value of Information – The Chamber brings members unique resources. Roundtable discussions, workshops, advocacy on local and state issues, contacts, reference to other businesses, expertise, etc. Information that is timely and relevant to the success of all business operations.
            Value of Influence – The Chamber represents the interests of its members and communities. Whether at the local, state or federal level, it is the advocate on all issues of importance to business.
            Value of Interaction – The Chamber provides its members opportunity. People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Networking events, B2B programs, and partnerships foster relationships that encourage leads, referrals and more business for our members.
            Value of Impact – The Chamber is one of the few, if not the only, organization that can impact the three main pillars in its service area – government, citizens, and businesses. We deliver results that directly benefit our members.
If you would like to assist in volunteering on a committee to help influence these values, just give us a call. It’s another sure way to build business connections. It really is great to belong!
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Contact Kelvin at the Chamber, 727.584.2321 or events@centralchamber.biz