Volume 27 l July 2020
 
 Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

President's Desk 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!
From the President’s Desk…
Is it July already?
            Talk about a time warp!  Does anyone else feel like it’s still around St. Patrick’s Day when this whole COVID mess began here?
            Well I hope all of you got to enjoy the 4 th holiday in some fashion during this scary time.  No doubt we still have many weeks of uncertainty ahead that will be impacting more holidays to come.   Who’s up for a 2020 do-over?!
            Through all of this, your Chamber continues to stay connected with governments, associations and community leaders at the local, regional and state levels.  I hope you appreciate the information we’ve been sharing and that it has been helpful.
            As I mentioned last month, we are beginning to bring folks together again at some of our meetings using a hybrid format – in person and virtual.  Our plan is to slowly establish the Chamber’s temporary normal based on each person’s comfort level, and so far, it’s been working well.
            Lastly, remember we have some great ways to help you get the word out about your business.  Check out our weekly  BizReach newsletter and  “We’re Back!” ribbon-cutting celebrations.   You can find more information further down. Give me a call if you’re interested.
            I hope you all continue to be healthy, safe and happy.  And thank you for your continued Chamber support and loyalty!
            Tom Morrissette, President 
A hybrid meeting of the Chamber Economic Develop-ment and Government Advocacy meeting was held last month.
Chamber Office Open (but wear a mask)
The Chamber’s 801 West Bay Drive, Largo office is now open for regular business.  However, we require that you wear a mask to enter for your safety and ours.  This is a public building, and visitors need to take an elevator to get to our 6 th floor headquarters.
 
Please note our hours of operation effective June 29 until further notice. 

Chamber Summer Office Hours
Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed Friday
Share info about your business…
Central Pinellas BizReach Connection
Several weeks ago, we launched a second weekly newsletter BizReach to share member-to-member news during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’re continuing it as the reopening phases move forward.
           For a fee of only $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.bi z
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

Also, don't forget about the Marketing Opportunities in our weekly eConnection Newsletter! From logo sponsorship to a flyer promotion, reach a target audience for powerful promotions. For more details, please email Kelvin at events@centralchamber.biz or call 727-584-2321
Bars Closed Statewide

Florida shut down bars on June 26 to slow the spread of coronavirus, after the state reported a single-day record of new infections. The announcement came from Halsey Beshears, secretary of the Department of Business & Professional Regulation that regulates Florida bars. He made the announcement via tweet that effectively banned all on-premise alcohol consumption immediately. Read the Emergency Order here: https://files.constantcontact.com/aaf15048001/4438a3a8-aa44-4d23-845b-543a59570ca8.pdf
Face Masks Required in Pinellas

The Pinellas order to wear face coverings applies to all persons countywide while in indoor public places; however, it specified that all persons who own, manage or are employed by any restaurant or bar within the county are required to wear a face covering at all times while on-duty and directly or indirectly preparing food or beverage, or serving food or beverage, or having customer contact, regardless of where the food or beverage is being prepared or whether the customer contact is inside an indoor public place or outdoors, such as on a patio or sidewalk. Full Ordinance here: https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Adopted-ORD-20-14.pdf
Mask Distribution Locations

Cloth face masks are available on a first come, first served basis at the following Central Pinellas locations. You’re encouraged to call before heading out to check mask availability. The county said supplies are limited and “will be replenished as often as possible.”
Largo Public Library , 120 Central Park Dr., Largo, (727) 587-6715
Highpoint Neighborhood Family Center , 5812 150th Ave. N., Clearwater, (727) 533-0730
Clearwater Main Library , 100 N. Osceola Ave., Clearwater, (727) 562-4970
Barbara S. Ponce Public Library , 7770 52nd St. N., Pinellas Park, (727) 369-0669
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/
Duke Energy proposes $1 billion solar expansion to double its capacity
Duke Energy Florida announced plans to double its solar energy capacity. The utility is asking for permission from the Florida Public Service Commission to build 750 megawatts of new solar energy installations through its “Clean Energy Connection Program.” It is currently in the process of completing 700 megawatts of solar capacity from a plan announced in 2017. [Source: Tampa Bay Times ]

Since the pandemic began, fewer Floridians are on the road. The numbers prove it
Travel was clearly a thing of the past for many Floridians in March.  A year-over-year analysis showed a 47.5% decline in travel on Florida’s roads, both rural and urban. Traffic declined after businesses were ordered to close and as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased, said a traffic data study published last Wednesday . [Source Miami Herald ]

St. Petersburg’s Pier District offers breezy, beautiful new place to play
When the city’s last Pier closed seven years ago, there was uncertainty about what would take its place. That long wait will be over on Monday as the new Pier District emerges from its chrysalis. Spread across 26 acres on St. Petersburg’s cherished public waterfront, the hope is that its amenities will satisfy the interests of visitors and beckon generations to come. [Source: Tampa Bay Times ]
THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
In a holiday-shortened week, stock prices turned higher as encouraging economic data outweighed an increase in COVID-19 cases and a rollback in economic re-openings. 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.25%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 increased by 4.02%. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 4.62% for the week. The MSCI EAFE Index, which tracks developed stock markets overseas, picked up 0.22%. 1,2,3 

Stocks Climb a Wall of Worry 
Stock prices moved higher on optimism of continued central bank support and a wave of buying on the final trading days of the second-calendar quarter. On Wednesday, investors were emboldened by news of promising results from a COVID-19 vaccine trial. Stocks continued their move to the upside on Thursday, sparked by a better-than-expected jobs report and a higher-than-expected read on manufacturing activity.  

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
The ultimate measure of economic recovery is jobs for Americans, and last week, Wall Street got an update from three different perspectives.  First, the ADP (Automatic Data Processing) National Employment Report, which reported private-sector employers added 2.37 million jobs in June. Next, an update on jobless claims, which showed 1.43 million claims, slightly higher than estimates. And finally, the June employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed 4.8 million jobs added, and the unemployment rate falling to 11.1%. Both numbers were better than expected. 4,5,6 
While the employment numbers painted a mostly positive picture, it’s important to remember that the June wave of rehiring was prior to the increase in COVID-19 cases, which has caused some states to revisit their re-opening plans.
Schedule a “We’re Back”, Grand Opening, etc. Ribbon-Cutting

Celebrate your return to business, company achievement or your grand opening with a Chamber Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony. 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! We recently commemorated the  Source 1 Solutions ' new Global Technical Services Center in Clearwater. The expanded state-of-the-art space is adjacent to its global headquarters.It's great to belong!
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