Volume 22 l June 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…
      Welcome to a “temporary” normal.
      As we continue in a time like no other in recent history, it’s good to see business activity resume. It will be a bit before we’re back to where we were in February, but we will get back. Unlike 9/11 (shoes off, body scans at airports), this is a temporary normal. Wearing facemasks and social distancing will eventually end. Until then though, please don’t let your guard down!
           To help you get the word out about your business, we’ve recently introduced a couple of programs. Our weekly BizReach newsletter is a great way to promote sales, member-to-member discounts, menus, etc. It’s just $35 a week or $100 for the month.
           A “We’re Back!” ribbon-cutting celebration is another option. For $150, we’ll arrange a time to photo/video you and your team that we’ll share on our social media platforms and that you can promote on yours. Look for more information on both programs below.
           In other news, several of our committee meetings starting this month will be hybrid, i.e. in person under CDC guidelines and via Zoom. Our plan is to slowly, based on each person’s comfort level, establish the Chamber’s temporary normal.
           I hope you all continue to be healthy, safe and happy. And thank you for your continued Chamber support and loyalty!
           Tom Morrissette, President 
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!
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! Here’s a look at our first!
John Watkins and Lila Jane Watkins and their team at Bay Life Pharmacy celebrated a We’re Back ribbon-cutting marking their return to the Chamber. The business is located at 3350 East Bay Drive in Largo and available for all your pharmaceutical needs. Give them a call at 727-614-9933 or visit www.BayLifePharmacy.com
Simply Events and Promotions has been busy holding food truck rallies, birthdays/celebrations and even a truck side drive-in movie show. The business has also held fundraisers including a recent food truck drive-thru visited by 200 cars at Starkey Road Baptist Church. It provided funding for meals for local first responders. You can contact Simply Events at 727-674-1464 or www.SimplyEventsFL.com
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/
Florida Full Phase One Restart
            Full “phase one” measures to reopen Florida’s economy took hold last week, allowing more people to be seated in restaurants and allowing gyms and salons to operate. Restaurants can now operate at 50% capacity, as can retail shops, museums and libraries.
           And last Wednesday, Pinellas County became the first in Tampa Bay allowed to resume short-term vacation rentals. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation signed off on the county’s safety plan.
           Theme parks have also been submitting reopening plans. The plans would need to be approved by local officials before reopening can occur. Bars and movie theaters are still included on the list of those not yet allowed to reopen.
           Read the Governor’s Phase One Executive Order here:   Phase One Executive Order
      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