Volume 19 l May 2020
 Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

Advocacy & Economic Development Edition
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!
Chamber COVID-19 Business Survey III Findings
Thanks to everyone who responded to our COVID-19 Business Survey III conducted last Tuesday 5/5 thru Friday 5/8. It was distributed to 560 businesses and 76 responded, more than 13%. Here’s what you told us:

What’s the status of your current workforce?
Good news to learn that more than 64% are at full employment! As in our past two surveys, most of the replies to “Other” were “working remotely.” On other questions, about 60% indicated they had reopened as part of the state’s Phase 1 Restart. More than 69% say they’re comfortable with the Phase 1 Restart and Screening measures.  However, 51% say they’re are not requiring employees to wear face masks.
A 65% majority believe the Chamber has been helpful in steering business members through this crisis. Many indicated they would not have known about the federal, county and local funding programs if not for regular Chamber communications. Look for another survey as the state unfolds its Phase 2 Restart in the coming weeks.
Phase 1 Restart – Who’s Open? – Barbers & Salons are now!
As of Monday, barbershops and salons have been added to businesses allowed to open under certain guidelines. These include employees wear masks, regularly wiping down stations and having customers wait outside before appointments. This link from JD Supra, a free online legal resource, has information about reopening, including do’s and don’ts. https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/re-opening-florida-the-step-by-step-72886/
      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. 

May 4 to June 1, 2020: Application portal open for submissions from eligible Pinellas County small businesses

Pinellas CARES Small businesses in need of emergency funding can now apply online for the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant . This program provides one-time $5,000 grants to eligible businesses 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. To determine if your business is eligible, please visit www.pced.org/cares . Here, you’ll find detailed information about the program, including frequently asked questions , and a preview of the application . The deadline to apply is June 1, 2020. Pinellas County expects to have enough funding to provide one-time $5,000 grants to those businesses that qualify.
·         Please watch this short video for tips on submitting a Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant application: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYWnKygTt9I&feature=youtu.be
·          Tips for applicants
  1.  Don’t rush.
  2.  Check first to ensure your business is eligible for the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant.
  3.  Before you begin the application, double-check that your current year documents are signed, scanned and ready to upload.
  4.  Accuracy counts. Check that your application and all uploaded documents are accurate and complete.
  5. All of the fields of your W-9 must match the application fields exactly.
  6. If your application needs additional information or corrections, you will be contacted.
  7. Include an email address that you check frequently.
  8. Track your progress within the application system.
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
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/
Did you know?
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 new poster, click on this link, print out and display prominently at your business: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf
Morning Connections
Join us on Tuesday, May 19th from 8 to 9am for our Morning Connections virtual networking event! We hope to see you all on the call. It's great to belong!
Beach Capacity Dashboard

The Sheriff’s Office will be updating a beach capacity dashboard so beachgoers can plan ahead based on real-time information regarding parking and beach capacity, including closures. The Sheriff’s Office will also be posting status updates throughout the weekend on Facebook and Twitter . In addition, Pinellas County staff will be updating digital signage to help direct beachgoers to the nearest safe beach if beaches become too crowded.

The Beach Capacity Dashboard is not live during the week and will resume Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 9:00am and will be active throughout the weekend and provide timely information regarding beach and parking capacity. 
Supporting our local heroes! It’s a good thing!
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