• Florida Chamber COVID-19 Membership Update: March 24, 2020

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    March 24, 2020
    March 24, 2020
    A Message from the Florida Chamber: COVID-19 Update
    With nearly 400,000 global cases of the coronavirus, will today finally be the day that Congressional lawmakers take action to secure America’s future? I am a fan of many of Winston Churchill’s quotes and the one that comes to mind when I think about the current action of many of our Congressional leader is “you can always count on America to do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else.”
     As chairman of the National Association of State Chambers, I sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell (read it here) urging them to unite to pass bipartisan legislation that will keep our economy intact, protect our American way of life, and help prevent the imminent shedding of millions of jobs. I also sent a letter to Florida Senator Marco Rubio in support of his efforts to bring assistance to nearly every Florida employer (read it here). 
    Governor Ron DeSantis’s “continued leadership to combat the spread and impact of COVID-19 remains our shared and foremost priority.” Yesterday he formally requested that President Trump declare a Major Disaster as Florida responds to this pandemic. Read more on that here.
    Florida now has 1,227 confirmed cases and 18 deaths, and we have cases in 46 of Florida’s 67 counties. Nearly 14,000 people have been tested.
    Remember, our frontline healthcare workers still need N95 masks. I continue to be amazed at the Florida Chamber members that have heeded the call to action to donate masks, and more, and encourage you to see all the great things your fellow Florida Chamber members are doing as we all fight the impact of this pandemic together. 
    To donate masks, contact Tanya Bechtold at tbechtold@flchamber.com or call her at 850-521-1218. 
    Please see all the resources, news and information in this daily newsletter to help Florida Chamber members navigate this unprecedented time. Feel free to share this with others and ask them to sign-up for their personal copy.
    My team and I are in constant contact with business and government leaders and what I’m seeing is nothing short of amazing. Together, we’ll get through this and we’ll be a more secure Florida when we emerge on the other side. If there’s information I’m not providing in this daily email, please simply let me know and we’ll make every effort to get you what you need in our collective time of need.
    My Best,
    Mark Wilson
    President and CEO
    Florida Department
    of Health
    Florida Chamber
    COVID-19 Toolkit
    U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    Resources and
    Guidelines for Business
    Centers for
    Disease Control
    Florida Small
    Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
    SBA Disaster Assistance
    Watch a message from Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson
    Thank you Governor Ron DeSantis For Your Leadership
    Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers
    The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released guidance to help state and local jurisdictions and the private sector identify and manage their essential workforce while responding to COVID-19. As the Nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, the President issued updated Coronavirus Guidance for America. This guidance states that: 
    “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”  
    Learn more here.
    Economic Relief
    Florida SBDC Network Announces Changes to the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Application Process
    Due to the widespread impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and small businesses’ need for emergency capital, the application process for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program has changed. Effective immediately, eligible small businesses interested in applying for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program, a short-term loan designed to help business owners bridge the gap between the time of impact and when the business has secured long-term assistance, should apply for the program through one of two ways:
    (1) Apply online and upload required supporting documentation or
    (2) Download an application, complete it and mail it with the required supporting documentation to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) at: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, C/O Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan, 107 E. Madison Street, MSC-160, Tallahassee FL 32399-4120. 
    Business Response
    AT&T Supporting Customers and Distant Learners
    AT&T has pledged to not disconnect any residential or small business customer for non-payment for the next 60 days, as well as not charge late payment fees due to economic hardship. And public WiFi hotspots open for any American who needs them. Additionally, AT&T has created a $10 million Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund, to give parents, students and teachers tools they need for at-home learning. Click here to learn more.
    Verizon Pledges Support for Customers
    Verizon is also helping its customers. They’ve pledged to not disconnect any residential or small business customer for non-payment for the next 60 days, and they’ll also forgo late fees. Click here to learn more.
    Walmart Foundation Commits $25 million to COVID-19 Response
    Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have committed $25 million to global COVID-19 response effort. The funds will be used to strengthen the global public health response, bolster food security, and support the needs of local communities in the U.S. and internationally. Click here to learn more.
    Kozuba & Son Distillery Retools for Hand Sanitizer
    Kozuba & Sons Distillery is using its equipment to make free hand sanitizer and vowed to donate a large portion of the initial production to first responders, medical facilities and community organizations. Click here to learn more.
    More Masks and Blood Donations Are Needed 
    There have been a lot of news reports indicating we need to do all we can to keep our healthcare workers protected. That’s why the Florida Chamber is calling on all of our construction companies (and others with surgical masks) to make them available for sale or donation to our healthcare workers. To make boxes of surgical masks available, please contact Tanya Bechtold at tbechtold@flchamber.com or call her at 850-521-1218. 
    There is also a growing need for blood donors in the middle of this global pandemic. It’s a small act of kindness that could save lives. To donate blood, visit here, here and here
    Share Your Story: Businesses of all sizes and sectors are stepping up to address this crisis. Share your company’s story by emailing Christi McCray at cristimccray@flchamber.com
    Top Stories
    COVID-19: Number of Cases in Florida
    Data Source: Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard
    DeSantis Requires Travelers From NY, NJ, CT to Self-Isolate
    Yesterday, Governor DeSantis announced Executive Order 20-80, which requires those who travel to Florida from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the state. The Executive Order can be found here. To watch his briefing, click here.
    FL Tops 1,200 Positive Confirmed Infections
    Four Floridians died Monday due to COVID-19 and more than 1,200 people are infected in Florida. Only 20 counties have yet to report a single case. More here
    State Parks Close 
    Starting yesterday, all state parks in Florida were closed indefinitely. Governor Ron DeSantis made the announcement after the social distancing guidelines recommended by state and federal officials have yet to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Florida. More here
    Lee Health and NCH Quarantine 180 Employees, See Supply Donations
    Lee Health and NCH Healthcare System, the region's largest hospital operators, said Monday that 180 of their employees are quarantined because of possible exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus. None have tested positive. And while the two hospital systems say they have enough supplies and personnel, both continued their pleas to the public for donations of critically needed blood as well as gowns, masks of any kind and even cleaning supplies. More here.
    Naval Ship Offered Up As Hospital For Non-COVID Patients
    While hospitals and emergency rooms are filled with people, the USNS Mercy will serve as a hospital for non-COVID-19 patients while COVID-19-related patients will get priority in standard hospitals and medical centers. The ship will carry three times the normal amount of medical staffing. More here.
    Federal Response Slows Amid Missteps By HHS
    President Donald Trump and his administration was ready to release the newest developments in coronavirus test kits for Americans. But a review by the Department of Health and Human Services found errors in adopting and implementation of the virus test kits, which has led to the coronavirus continuing to spread in the U.S. More here
    Countries Reporting Confirmed Cases: 156
    Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Central African Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Eswatini, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gaza, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tahiti, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, U.K., U.S., Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, Vatican City, Venezuela, and Vietnam. 
    SOURCE: Hill+Knowlton
    Florida Chamber of Commerce www.FloridaChamber.com/Coronavirus
    Chanda Ryan, Executive Director
    Chanda.Ryan@NavarreChamber.com, 8504000466