• Florida Chamber Weekly COVID-19 Update: Oct. 15, 2020

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    October 22, 2020
    COVID-19 Weekly Update: October 15, 2020
    A Message from Chamber President & CEO Mark Wilson:
    Our 2020 Virtual Future of Florida Forum & Annual Meeting is Next Week
    ***Click here to see our full agenda.***
    Click Here and Register Yourself and/or Your Team
    It's Week 33 (day 227) and Florida is several weeks into Phase 3 of reopening our economy. For 33 weeks the Florida Chamber has followed the facts and not fear as we - along with local chambers across the state - have been working hard to bring Florida's business community the most up-to-date information as we worked together to flatten the curve, protect our state's most vulnerable citizens, and make sure business leaders and their employees can continue going back to work safe and smart - and without the fear of bogus COVID lawsuits. The Florida Department of Health reported that yesterday was the sixty-second straight day below 10 percent positivity of new cases. In addition, data reported to the Agency for Health Care Administration shows that the number of COVID-19 positive patients that are currently hospitalized is down more than 70 percent since July. Data reported also shows there has been a steady decline in the number of reported Florida resident deaths who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19.
    We are moving in the right direction and should remain committed to following the CDC-recommended guidelines and wear our masks when needed, physically distance, and avoid large groups. The negative effects of COVID-19 on Florida's economy, families, and businesses are a reality, but how we move forward will make the biggest difference on our road to recovery.
    The Florida Chamber Foundation has assembled what looks to be the biggest group of national and state leaders we have ever had in our 3-day Virtual Future of Forum and Annual Meeting next week, October 20-22. This is going to be the first time our forum will be on a professional digital platform, and the topics and presentations have never been more timely or relevant as we relaunch and reimagine Florida's future. The deadline to register is TODAY. Registrants will receive their log in credentials tomorrow, October 16, so they can access the digital platform early and be ready for the launch of the 2020 Forum on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. Registration is only $199 and includes a digital pass (value of $399) so all of the content will be yours to experience on-demand shortly after the conclusion of the Forum. Those who do not register by end of day today will have to purchase the $399 digital pass. Do not miss this opportunity to experience some of Florida's greatest minds coming together to have very important discussions on the future of Florida's economy, industry, diversification of Florida's workforce, prospects and development of a COVID-19 vaccine, small business recovery, the upcoming November election, and so much more.
    Register Here
    Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish and our research team continue to analyze COVID-19 data and report on it daily at TheFloridaScoreCard.org. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter where we post the latest COVID numbers each day. As cases vary regionally, we also offer a breakdown of data by county so you can know how COVID-19 is trending in your community. Stay vigilant and informed to continue protecting our most vulnerable, our families, customers, and employees.
    Please find the latest cumulative COVID-19 numbers below:
    7-Day COVID Numbers (Oct. 8 - 14):
    • Florida Cases: 18,925
    • 7-Day Avg. Daily New Cases: 2,703.6
    • Hospitalized: 1,223
    • Total People Tested: 155,511
    • Florida Reported Deaths: 691
    Side effects that have emerged in a large late-stage trial of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech are in line with those seen in smaller early studies, a positive sign for one of the front-runners in the race for a shot. The partners haven’t had to stop their late-stage study over safety concerns, BioNTech Chief Executive Officer Ugur Sahin said in an interview. They’re sticking with their previously announced target of being able to show as soon as this month whether the vaccine works.
    Perhaps a potential case study in reopening the right way while adhering to the recommended guidelines to protect your employees and customers, one of the biggest vacation destinations in the world has had very few of their employees contract COVID-19 since returning to work in July, and none of these cases have been determined to be work-related.
    Two studies published yesterday in Blood Advances suggest people with blood type O may have a lower risk of COVID-19 infection and reduced likelihood of severe outcomes, including organ complications, if they do get sick. Blood type O may offer some protection against COVID-19 infection, according to a retrospective study . Researchers compared Danish health registry data from more than 473,000 individuals tested for COVID-19 to data from a control group of more than 2.2 million people from the general population. Among the COVID-19 positive, they found fewer people with blood type O and more people with A, B, and AB types. READ MORE>
    Chamber members are invited to join the Florida Chamber for Part 3 of our 3-part Webinar Series on the negative impacts of Amendment 2. Part 3 will focus on how a $15 minimum wage mandate would actually tarnish equality of opportunity by doing away with many entry-level positions and forcing businesses to seek higher-skilled workers for low-skill jobs, and even force some businesses to move operations to neighboring states. If you missed Parts 1 and 2, you can catch up and get additional information on Amendment 2 here.
    October 30: 11:00 a.m.-12 p.m.
    Part 3: Equality of Opportunity
    Register for Part 3
    With less than 3 weeks until Florida’s General Election, the Florida Chamber of Commerce remains fiercely engaged in our education efforts against Amendment 2, but we still need your help. After months of the Amendment polling in the mid 60’s, a poll released last week, conducted by the University of North Florida, shows support for Amendment 2 has dropped to 60% approval, the minimum amount of support needed for the Amendment to pass. If true, this means support is dropping and our collective efforts are working.
    #ChamberStrong - Many chambers throughout Florida have committed their support to help stop amendment 2. For the sake of Florida's economy, working families, small businesses, seniors and our entry-level workforce, please sign up today to aid our efforts.
    Engage with us at these
    Upcoming Chamber Events
    2020 Virtual Future of Florida Forum
    October 20-22
    1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
    View Our List of 50+ Dynamic Speakers!
    Topics will include:
    • COVID-19 and the Future of a Vaccine
    • Florida’s Economic Outlook
    • Industry Diversification
    • Talent and Workforce Innovation
    • The Future of Florida Tourism
    • Small Business Solutions
    • Equity Gaps in Florida
    • Ending Inequality of Opportunity 
    • The Future of Transportation and Infrastructure in Florida
    • Decision 2020: The Road to the White House 
    • Safety and Healthcare 
    ...and much more
    Register Yourself or Your Team TODAY - LAST CALL!
    Amendment 2:
    3-Part Webinar Series
    Part 3: Equality of Opportunity
    October 30
    11:00 a.m. EDT
    Join Florida Chamber CEO Mark Wilson, Florida Chamber Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish, VP of Political Operations Nick Catroppo, and special guests for for the third and final part of the series where we will be discussing why Amendment 2 is bad for Florida, and even worse for equality of opportunity. Learn what you can do to stop Florida from being the first state to have a $15 per hour minimum wage mandate in their state constitution.
    Register for this FREE Informative Series
    2020 Virtual Insurance Summit
    November 5 & 6
    Join us for two days of engaging presentations, unique networking opportunities and insight from Florida’s top insurance leaders and elected officials.
    Register Today
    Become a Sponsor
    Contact Faye Brainard at
    2020 November Election
    Democrats Leading Republicans by 402,633 Votes in Florida With
    19 Days Until the Election
    The Florida Chamber team is monitoring votes daily and, with less than three weeks until election day, 1,917,085 votes have already been cast by mail in Florida. There are now over 14 million registered voters in Florida and nearly 5.7 million have already requested to vote by mail with 792,778 more Democrats requesting mail in ballots than Republicans. In terms of returns, so far, Democrats have returned 967,088 ballots, Republicans have returned 564,455 and NPA/Other have returned 385,542. The political research team at the Florida Chamber will continue to monitor and analyze voter trends in key Senate and House races as well as the statewide turnout. If you still haven’t shared the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Voter Guide to candidates and all six proposed constitutional amendments, please click here.
    Florida Chamber 2020 Election Guide Available For You and Your Employees - Please Share With Your Employees Today
    Florida is shaping up to be the biggest battleground state for the November election. The Florida Chamber continues to unify the business community in Florida politics, and following a successful Primary Election for Florida’s business community, the Florida Chamber has released its 2020 General Election Voter Guide with endorsements for the State Senate, State House, and select Constitutional Amendments across Florida.
    Download Your Free Copy
    Legislative News and Recovery Updates
    McConnell Announces Vote on Targeted COVID-19 Relief Package
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday indicated the Senate will vote on a targeted COVID-19 relief package when the Chamber resumes session next week. Leader McConnell said the package is a targeted relief plan for American workers, noting it will include new funding for small business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The legislation is also expected to include funding for schools, an unemployment extension, and liability protections for businesses. Shortly after Leader McConnell made the announcement, President Trump tweeted his support for another stimulus package, urging lawmakers to "go big or go home." It is unclear how much the Senate proposal will cost. The news comes on the heels of the Administration's latest offer, which was presented to Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) over the weekend. The $1.8 trillion plan includes $300 billion to state and local governments, $400 a week in unemployment benefits through January, and another round of direct economic assistance payments for adults at $1,200 and $1,000 per child. The proposal was rejected by Pelosi.
    Free Enterprise In Action During COVID-19
    Regulators Back FPL Plan to Speed Up Refunds
    The state Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved a plan by Florida Power & Light to speed up refunds of deposits for tens of thousands of customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. FPL announced the plan last month as part of steps that also included providing bill credits of up to $200 to some residential and small-business customers. FPL said in its filing that the move to speed up refunds of deposits would return $9 million to $11 million to 50,000 to 60,000 residential customers. Ordinarily, deposits are refunded after 23 months to customers with good payment records. The plan is a one-time move that will shorten the period to 12 months. READ MORE>
    Gulf Power sends crews to Louisiana to assist following Hurricane Delta
    Gulf Power crews and other resources are headed to Louisiana where Hurricane Delta knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of customers. The company says nearly 40 line workers and support personnel will join its sister company, Florida Power & Light Company, which is also helping with restoration efforts with more than 450 line workers and personnel. READ MORE>
    JPMorgan Chase Commits $30 Billion to Advance Racial Equity
    JPMorgan Chase announced new long-term commitments to advance racial equity. The firm will harness its expertise in business, policy and philanthropy and commit an additional $30 billion over the next five years to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially the Black and Latinx communities.
    Structural barriers in the U.S. have created profound racial inequalities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The existing racial wealth gap puts a strain on families’ economic mobility and restricts the U.S. economy. Building on the firm’s existing investments, this new commitment will drive an inclusive economic recovery, support employees and break down barriers of systemic racism. READ MORE>
    Safety Resources
    FREE Downloadable Returning to Work Safely During COVID-19 Playbook
    Returning to Work Safety During
    COVID-19 Webinar
    Return to Work Safely Webinar
    5-Step Action Plan for Handling Customers Who Refuse to Wear Masks
    (provided by Fisher Phillips)
    Halloween & COVID-19
    By Diego A. Sanchez, CSP, ASP, CHST, OHST
    As you may know by now, this holiday season will not be the same as years past. However, this does not mean that we can’t still enjoy and celebrate our holidays; we just need to prepare and celebrate just a bit differently than we did before. For example, Halloween is a special day when we (and our children) get to dress-up and celebrate with family and friends. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we will have to celebrate differently with lower-risk activities vs. higher risk activities. Most of our traditional ways to celebrate Halloween are considered higher risk activities. These activities include:
    • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
    • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
    • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
    • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
    • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
    • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19
    Instead, try these lower risk activities that are recommended as safer alternatives:
    • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
    • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
    • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
    • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
    • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
    • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
    • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
    Remember, if you may have COVID-19, or you think that you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.
    Although it may increase the risk, if you are planning on giving out candy this Halloween, please ensure that the candy wrappers are clean, and prepare individual goodie bags for families to grab. Set them up at the end of your driveway, or at the end of your yard to maintain proper social distancing. Remember to wash your hands before and after preparing your Halloween goodie bags.  
    If your business is in need of safety training - including COVID-19 training - we're here to help. For more information on keeping your workers safe, visit flchambersafety.com or contact
    Diego Sanchez, Senior Safety Manager at dsanchez@flchamber.com
    Florida Chamber stresses impacts $15 wage hike will have on seniors, families
    The Florida Chamber cautioned Floridians about the challenges seniors will face if voters approve the $15 minimum wage amendment during part 2 of the Chamber's webinar series against Amendment 2.
    Replacing Poverty with Prosperity-- Florida Chamber Foundation's Prosperity Initiative aims to close Florida's equity gaps one zip code at a time
    Authored by Michael Williams, Executive Director of the Florida Prosperity Initiative at the Florida Chamber Foundation, we dive into the existence of equity gaps and the Prosperity Initiative's goal to cut childhood poverty in half by 2030. READ MORE>
    Florida Chamber of Commerce argues now is not the time to mandate Florida's minimum wage to $15 per hour
    Florida voters are considering Amendment 2 this November, which would raise the state's minimum wage from $8.56 to $10 this September, then gradually increase the minimum wage by one dollar each year until it reaches $15 in the year 2026. Powerful groups, like the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and Florida Chamber of Commerce, have come out against Amendment 2, arguing that it would raise labor costs for businesses already hit hard by the pandemic. The FL Chamber is pointing to the fragile economy due to the ongoing pandemic as a reason to vote against Amendment 2, stating: "With local businesses struggling and not able to reopen due to COVID-19, along with hundreds of thousands of Floridians out of work, now is not the time to mandate Florida’s minimum wage to $15 per hour." READ MORE>
    Understanding the constitutional amendments on your ballot and the Florida's Chamber's stance on each
    Florida Weekly has compiled detailed information about this year’s amendments, including “plain language” summaries and the Florida Chamber's position on each. READ MORE>
    EXIM Chairman Kimberly A. Reed and Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson Announce All America Initiative Partnership with the National Association of State Chambers of Commerce 
    Chairman Kimberly A. Reed and Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson announced that EXIM and the National Association of State Chambers of Commerce will partner together in phase two of EXIM’s All America initiative. The partnership will make America more competitive by growing American jobs and exports. READ MORE>
    As we continue to reopen and relaunch Florida safe and smart, I am proud to work alongside all of you as we continue to come together to keep moving Florida forward. If there is anything you need from your dedicated Chamber Staff, or have questions at any time, I invite you to email me directly at mwilson@flchamber.com.
    My best,
    Mark Wilson
    President & CEO
    Florida Chamber of Commerce www.FloridaChamber.com/Coronavirus
    Florida Chamber of Commerce | 136 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301
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