March 9, 2021
Hello!
Yesterday, the Okaloosa County Health Department shared some interesting COVID-19 related facts with us. March 7 was the one year anniversary of the announcement of the first case of COVID-19 in Okaloosa County. We are now at 19,238 reported cases 365 days later.

Few vaccination factoids:
  • 14% of Okaloosa’s population has received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • 8.6% are fully vaccinated
  • For 65 years and older:
  • 64% have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • 39.7% are fully vaccinated
 
The supply of COVID-19 vaccine should increase rapidly in the coming weeks.
Input Needed From Vacation Rental Companies
In order to help local businesses make important staffing and supply decisions for the coming months, we would like vacation rental companies' input on this survey. The survey is completely anonymous and will close on March 12, at noon. Please find the survey here - http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07ehnm9glkklr3zq7n/start.
New $10M Incentive Fund Now Available For Local Employers
After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Florida Legislature established the Industry Resilience and Diversification Fund (IRDF). This $10 million economic development incentive program is aimed to strengthen and diversify Northwest Florida’s economy through initiatives in research and development, commercialization of research, economic diversification and job creation.

Companies creating 10 or more jobs in aerospace, life sciences, manufacturing, cybersecurity, information technology, financial services and distribution are eligible to receive grant awards up to $2 million. Employers must be locating or expanding within the eight disproportionally affected counties of Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla and Walton.

Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office Releases 2020 Annual Report
The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) responded to 5,439 disturbances in 2020. Even with Covid-19, calls for service in Destin were up more than 25% over 2019. OCSO's new K9s are all named in honor of, and in memory of, fallen deputies. This information and much more is now available here. Check out the highlights of the year and a message to the community from Sheriff Eric Aden.
Florida Chamber Safety Council Presents Inaugural Conference
The Florida Chamber Safety Council presents the 2021 Southeastern Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability on May 10 - 12, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando. Safety, health and sustainability leaders will convene to share the latest data/research, industry benchmarks and best practices for the EHS industry. Take advantage of professional development opportunities and network with peers across industries who share a passion for safety, health and sustainability as a competitive business advantage.

Click here to view the growing agenda of speakers/topics and to register. 
COVID-19 Liability Protections Passes House
On Friday, the Florida House passed the business COVID-19 liability protections bill, HB 7 by Representative McClure, with a bipartisan vote of 83-31. This bill sends a signal of confidence for businesses that are doing their part to keep employees and customers safe that they will not be party to litigation. We will keep you posted as we learn more.
Share Your Thoughts In Our Workforce Needs Survey
A high-quality workforce is Florida's best long-term economic development strategy and is crucial to becoming the 10th largest economy by 2030. We need your help to understand your company's evolving workforce needs and the impact the pandemic is having on your recruiting and training goals.
 
Please take a few minutes to complete our 2021 Workforce Needs Survey. The results will be shared with and incorporated into the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2021 Florida Workforce Needs Study. We appreciate your input!
Do You Need Masks For Your Business?
Thank you to the Florida Department of Health of Okaloosa County for providing masks for us to distribute to our members. If you would like to pick up masks for your place of business, please email espies@DestinChamber.com to arrange the quantity and pickup.
Save $ On Office Supplies
Did you know Destin Chamber members save money on office supplies with Office Depot? Click here to print a store purchasing card to use in the Destin location or visit www.mychamberadvantage.com/Chamber_SignUp to sign up online.
Destin Tourism & Hospitality Lunch: Focus on Eco-Tourism
Wednesday, March 10 | 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Fudpucker's Down Stairs Bar

From lionfish and gators to underwater museums, learn how eco-tourism is bringing visitors to our area and how we can continue to promote and grow eco-tourism opportunities. Our panelists are Alex Fogg, Allison Wickey and Trey Tisdale.
Florida SBDC Virtual Office Hours at the Destin Chamber
Thursday, March 11 | 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Virtual

The Florida SBDC at UWF is hosting virtual consulting hours specifically for business owners in our area. Florida SBDC at UWF Business Consultant Diana Jernigan is available by email for impromptu meetings assisting with business challenges or opportunities.
Business Before Hours Sponsored by Gulf Power
Friday, March 12 | 7:30 - 9 a.m.
The Palms Bistro

Sponsored by Gulf Power and featuring our non-profit partners Aletha's Legacy and Impact 100 of Northwest Florida, you do not want to miss this opportunity to connect with other area business professionals and get in the know on the latest happenings in the business community.
Multi-Chamber Business After Hours Sponsored Destin - Fort Walton Beach Convention Center
Thursday, March 25 | 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Destin - Fort Walton Beach Convention Center

Join us, our friends at the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber, and our sponsor Destin - Fort Walton Beach Convention Center to view some beautiful artwork and meet local artists during this evening Wine & Art Walk.
Young Professionals of Destin Lunch: Beach Clean Up & Sunset Social Sponsored by Rhumcay Island Grille
Thursday, April 1 | 4 - 7:30 p.m.
Beach Clean Up: Meet Under the 'Welcome to Destin' Sign
Sunset Social: Rhumcay Island Grille

Help us clean up around the 'Welcome to Destin' Sign and the Destin Bridge, before caravanning over to Rhumcay Island Grille to enjoy appetizers and cocktails, while watching the sun set over the beautiful Destin Harbor and East Pass.
Military Affairs Council
Wednesday, April 7 | 12 - 1 p.m.
Destin Chamber

Thank You To Our Renewing Members
DestinChamber.com | (850) 837-6241