Volume 38 l September 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!
Thank you to our Trustees and Newsletter Sponsors
Bay Care/Morton Plant Hospital
Brown Insurance Services
Duke Energy
Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital
Home Instead/Be a Santa
Jackson & Associates CPA
Melody Hunter, Charles Rutenberg Realty
MidFlorida Credit Union
Nova Southeastern University - Tampa Bay
Paradise Air
Piper Fire Protection
Platinum Information Services
Regions Bank
Spectrum Reach
The Palms of Largo
Valley National Bank
Wealth Builders
We appreciate your continued support and loyalty!
This Thursday....
Chamber to Host Largo City Commission Candidates Forum
Curtis Holmes
Eric Gerard
-----Your Chamber will host a Largo City Commission Candidates Forum this Thursday, Sept. 24 at 8:30 a.m. It will be a live Zoom broadcast. The program will be available after the live event with a link on the Chamber’s website www.CentralChamber.biz and on our Facebook and LinkedIn social media pages.
-----There is only one contested race, that between three-term incumbent Curtis Holmes and Eric Gerard, husband of County Commissioner Pat Gerard also former Mayor of Largo. You can learn more about each candidate at their websites – Curtis Holmes: www.Holmes4Largo.com and Eric Gerard: www.GerardforLargo.com.

Here is the Zoom registration link to view the event live:
Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce
Largo Commission City Candidates Forum
When: Sep 24, 2020 08:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Celebrating Manufacturing Day – Friday, Oct. 2, 2020
RECOGNIZING MANUFACTURING CONTRIBUTIONS! Largo Mayor Woody Brown presents Jim England of England Brothers Construction and chair of the Chamber’s Economic Development Committee, with a City of Largo proclamation acknowledging manufacturing and its impact on our regional economy. Joining them, from left, Largo City Manager Henry Schubert, Largo Economic Development Coordinator Karisa Rojas-Norton, David Puckett of GTE Financial, Rob England of England Brothers Construction and Chamber Chairman, Mary Taylor of McManus & McManus P.A., and Chamber President Tom Morrissette.
 -----Joining the National Manufacturing Day movement was among the Chamber’s 2020 action goals. Afterall, manufacturing is the third largest industry sector in Pinellas County representing about 44,000 jobs.
-----The City of Largo and Pinellas County Commission have both issued proclamations at the request of the Chamber to recognize manufacturers and their impact on the Pinellas economy. Most recent figures show it at about $10.5 billion in total annual sales and $7.5 billion in exports.
-----National Manufacturing Day, held annually on the first Friday in October, celebrates those who proudly stand behind American goods and services. President Barack Obama signed the first Presidential Proclamation in 2014.
-----The objective is to create a better understanding and appreciation for the significant impact of manufacturing and provide opportunities for young people to pursue manufacturing careers. Although COVID has prevented the tradition of manufacturers opening their doors to students this year, other outreach efforts are underway to inspire them to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering.
-----Today’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates will power the next chapter of American production and innovation to grow our economy. And, the Chamber will continue its role as a bridge between education and industry. 
The COVID-19 Regional Re-Opening Dashboard tracks the critical and official public health metrics that guide Tampa Bay residents and policymakers to safely re-open our economy.
New cases in Tampa Bay continued to decline this week, albeit at a less-rapid rate than last week, and the percentage of residents testing positive continued a downward trend. At 3.93%, Tampa Bay's positive testing rate over the past week is once again below the 10% threshold outlined in state and federal re-opening guidelines, and lower than last week’s 4.27% rate. Statewide, the positive testing rate stayed below the 10% threshold for a third consecutive week, falling from 4.96% to 4.33%. We do note that regional visits to emergency rooms for flu-like illnesses, while lower than last week, remain elevated compared to two weeks ago.
Additional funding now available…
Pinellas CARES Local Business Grants
-----The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners has approved additional funding to develop new business assistance programs. Pinellas CARES is now offering expanded grant funding for Pinellas-based businesses most affected by the pandemic. In general, this includes businesses that were required to shut down or whose customers were required to shut down or stop doing business. A list of eligible business types can be found HERE
-----Applicants are strongly encouraged to take their time to submit a complete and accurate application, including all required documentation, for the quickest response. Grant awards will be based on review of complete and eligible applications and not on how early a partial application is submitted. Submitting an incomplete application will delay the review process.
-----To get an application and for more information, click here Pinellas CARES Business Grant
Time – and money – at stake in Florida-led proposal to extend daylight saving
Daylight saving time could be extended for one year if a fast-tracked federal bill sponsored by Florida’s two U.S. senators is adopted before Nov. 1, when clocks fall back an hour at 2 a.m. local time across much of the world. Republican U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott said suspending daylight saving time would save energy, prevent traffic injuries and reduce crime while improving physical fitness, reducing childhood obesity and benefitting the agricultural economy. The Florida Chamber of Commerce and state business associations maintain an extra hour of sunlight in the winter, during peak tourist season, would translate into more sales. More from the Center Square.

Will Halloween save Disney World, Universal, and SeaWorld?
This past weekend was the first one with a seasonal bent at Disney World, Comcast's Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Entertainment -- and it was by most accounts a success. Folks were trick-or-treating through SeaWorld Orlando, enjoying last-minute jump scares at Universal Orlando walk-through attractions, and dressing up as their favorite characters at Disney's Magic Kingdom. It seems like business as usual, but like any good Halloween disguise it often masks what's really going on underneath the costume. More from the Motley Fool.

Florida foreclosure filings trend up as some fear a fall wave awaits
Gov. Ron DeSantis extended Florida’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium until Oct. 1 last month, delaying what some fear will be a wave of foreclosures across the state once the ban is lifted. Those fears are justified if trends documented by mortgage date firm ATTOM Data Solutions in its August 2020 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report continue into fall and 2021. According to ATTOM, which owns RealtyTrac, Florida had the nation’s second-highest foreclosure filing rate in August, with Jacksonville’s foreclosure filing rate the highest for any metro area in the country. [Source: The Center Square]

Florida groups call on congress to support real estate flood disclosure requirement 
More than 130 groups across the country, including eight in Florida, are calling on Congress to create a federal flood risk disclosure requirement. Federal policy does currently require lenders to notify borrowers, but only if they’re required to have flood insurance. Twenty-nine states have some form of flood risk disclosure requirements. [Source: WUSF]

Federal aid for Florida’s unemployed has run out. What’s next? 
Despite months of pandemic-induced chaos, Florida hasn’t fallen off the economic cliff. There are policy reasons for that, experts say: Gov. Ron DeSantis has largely erred on the side of keeping businesses open. Since April, the state has had an eviction and foreclosure moratorium on the books. And the federal government has given Floridians billions in unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic. But starting this week, that last, crucial factor — federal unemployment assistance — will be missing from Florida wallets. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.
Share info about your business…
Central Pinellas BizReach Connection
For a nominal fee of $35 per issue or $100 a month, you can highlight news about your business opening and specials. Here are the details.
One entry for $35, four entries for $100 (you can edit from week to week).

What: Central Pinellas BizReach
Who: All Chamber members are eligible to provide business updates and special member-to-member offers/discounts.
When: Central Pinellas BizReach is distributed weekly on Fridays. 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 3" x 3" in respect to others.
Email events@CentralChamber.biz or call 727-584-2321
Final Weeks to Be Counted!
Deadline September 30!
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!
Reserve your space now!

Run your Ad or Logo in the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce's eConnection Newsletter that publishes weekly. Be seen by over 2,000 members and friends. Take advantage of an open/read rate that exceeds 25%.
Contact Kelvin at the Chamber, 727.584.2321 or events@centralchamber.biz