Volume 23 l June 2020
 Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

Advocacy and Economic Development
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 IV Findings
Thanks to everyone who responded to our COVID-19 Business Survey IV conducted last Thursday 6/4 thru Monday 6/8. It was distributed to 560 businesses and 48 responded, about 8.5%. Here’s what you told us:

What’s the status of your current workforce?
*Full employment increased to nearly 71% from 64% reflected in last month’s survey. 

As Florida continues its phased in reopening of the economy, which best describes how we're doing relative to other states?
Are you having a problem with laid-off or furloughed workers returning to work because they're receiving unemployment benefits?
Have you applied and RECEIVED any financial assistance i.e. SBA Bridge Loans, SBA Economic Disaster Loan, CARES Act programs including Payroll Protection Program (PPP), Pinellas County Grant, City of Largo Grant, etc.?”
How concerned are you of a second wave of coronavirus affecting Florida?
Florida Phase Two Restart

Phase 2 of Gov. DeSantis’ Safe. Smart. Step-By-Step. reopening plan started last Friday for the 64 counties under his original Phase 1 reopening. Phase 2 applies to all counties in Florida except Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach – they may seek approval to enter Phase 2 with a written request from the County Mayor or County Administrator if there is no County Mayor.
           Under Phase 2, bars, entertainment facilities like movie theatres and bowling allies, and personal services like tattoo parlors and tanning salons can begin to reopen on June 5 using certain safety precautions. Be sure to check out the latest details in the Governor’s Phase 2 Executive Order. For a complete list of COVID-related Executive Orders click here .
We saw something nice...
A positive jobs report sent stocks soaring last Friday, capping a solid week as evidence of a global economic recovery outweighed concerns over civil unrest and tensions with China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 6.81%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 4.91%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index lagged, climbing 3.42%. The MSCI EAFE Index, which tracks developed stock markets overseas, gained 5.52%.

Stocks March Higher
Despite multiple headwinds, stocks rode a wave of optimism over economic recovery and were encouraged by signs that a feared spike in COVID-19 had not occurred. Firming oil prices and positive global manufacturing data helped boost stocks during the week. The market continued to be led by industry sectors that were most battered in the March decline, as price advances slowed in growth-oriented stocks, primarily technology names.
After a pause on Thursday, stocks surged on Friday when a jobs report surprisingly showed 2.5 million new jobs in May, with the unemployment rate falling to 13.3%. Wall Street expected a jobs decline of over 8 million and an unemployment rate of 19.5%.
Get the word out…
Central Pinellas BizReach Connection
      Several weeks ago, we launched this second weekly newsletter BizReach. And the response has been tremendous! We’re continuing it as the COVID Restart Phases move forward.
           For a nominal fee $35 per issue or $100 a month, you can share new 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 or click here reserve you spot in BizReach online today!
Business Re-opening Tips
VISIT FLORIDA has compiled several best practices for the tourism industry to help guide their decision-making process on re-opening. Please note that any specific questions regarding sanitation and public health should be directed to local health departments and/or the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Safety First - Your business's commitment to clear and transparent communication of safety and cleanliness practices is what your employees and visitors desire. Feeling safe and knowing that organizations are taking the steps needed to protect their teams and guests is paramount for a comfortable re-opening. Learn more here: VISIT FL Re-open
For more information on Governor Ron DeSantis' Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan to Re-Open Florida, please visit flgov.com/covid-19 .
Get the word out…
"We're Back" Ceremony
Schedule a We’re Back Ribbon-Cutting to celebrate your return with the world.  Cost is $150 . Includes photo/video placement on Chamber social media platforms and a copy for your business to share. Call us to book a date/time today! 
Tommy's Express Car Wash - Largo is open and ready for business! Chamber members joined the team at Tommy's in celebration for their grand opening ribbon cutting on Tuesday, June 9th. Please join us in welcoming them to Largo and to your Chamber. Visit them at 5315 East Bay Dr, Largo, FL 33764. It's great to belong!
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.  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 30, 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

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/
      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. 
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!

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Contact Kelvin at the Chamber, 727.584.2321 or events@centralchamber.biz