Volume 18 l May 2020
 Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

President's Desk 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!
From your Presidents Desk....
        Relief. Restart. Recover. Reimagine!
           It’s the progression path many chambers across the state – including ours – has adopted in response to the pandemic. And, as we begin the slow, methodical move to a new normalcy, I hope you continue to find your association with us of distinct value.
            Relief. Restart. During the past several weeks, myself and Chamber Outreach Director Kelvin Mack have worked to keep you engaged and informed. This has included dozens of online meetings and networking opportunities as well as sharing the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and business assistance programs. I’ve also been serving our manufacturers daily from the office providing them with Certificates of Origin required to ship products overseas and keep our regional economy moving.
            Recover. And we hope to continue with these services. But we need your support! We are a membership organization and rely on the investment of each member business. We know that this is an extremely difficult time for all, so have developed some membership renewal options that I hope you consider when you receive your renewal notice. These include an expansion of our monthly payment plan program and an extension for 120 days for renewals due March 1 or later. We’re here to work with you to continue our partnership!
            Reimagine! As the weeks and months unfold, we’ll learn to what degree COVID-19 has impacted us. Will virtual meetings be the norm? Will working remotely replace the central office? You can be sure, there will be change. Time will tell!
           As always, thanks for your continued support. And please stay healthy, happy and safe!
           Tom Morrissette
      The application period for the City of Largo's Business Continuity Program began last Friday. A link to the online application portal is posted on the Business Continuity Program page. Information regarding business eligibility is currently posted.
           The online application portal will require an email address, and applicants will be required to create a username and password. Application status can be checked by signing into the portal. Please note, the application period will close when all the funding for the program has been expended.
           The intent of the program is to assist small businesses that have experienced economic injury resulting from the Florida Governor's Executive Orders and Pinellas County's order mandating that businesses close, or partially close, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
           The program provide a $1,000 grant, on a first-come, first-served basis, for eligible businesses with 2 - 50 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees (or contracted equivalents) to assist with commercial rent or commercial mortgage assistance to aid in business continuity, community recovery, and to prevent business closures and the loss of jobs.
           In addition to this email newsletter, please check the City's COVID-19 Business Resources page often, and follow the Economic Development Facebook and City LinkedIn pages to be updated as additional resources become available. 
Pinellas County is providing emergency financial support through the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant for qualified small businesses that are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to orders to close or limit operations. The program will offer one-time $5,000 grants to qualifying small businesses to cover expenses such as employee wages, vendor bills and rent. 

Timeline - April 28 to May 3, 2020: Program outreach and education.
May 4 to June 1, 2020: Application portal open for submissions from eligible Pinellas County small businesses

This program is intended to help offset the significant, temporary loss of revenue to these qualified businesses during this pandemic, and to assist businesses in retaining and paying employees. For more details, click here: https://www.pced.org/page/covid19loans
Did you know?
We apologize for the dead links in the original article. The link has been corrected.
New Labor Law Posters Are Now Required by Dept. of Labor
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division published workplace posters for all employers to use. This new poster will notify employees of their rights to expanded paid sick leave and expanded paid Family and Medical Leave Act leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. To view the two new posters, click on the links: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf
Be counted! U.S. Census 2020 extended to October
Nate Cocco of State Farm/Team Cocco and Chamber Chairman-Elect knows he counts! The 2020 Census is underway and more households across America are responding every day. Over 80 million households have responded to date! In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau has extended the window for field data collection and self-response from July to October 31 The census counts every person in the country, and those figures are used to determine a host of benefits, from a state's share of federal dollars to its representation in Congress. As the nation's third-largest state, Florida needs to receive its fair share. So be sure to stand up and be counted!
Supporting our local heroes! It’s a good thing!
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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