• Florida Chamber Weekly COVID-19 Update: Sept. 10, 2020

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    September 11, 2020
    Facts Not Fear
     
     
    COVID-19 Weekly Update: September 10, 2020
     
     
    A Message from Chamber President & CEO Mark Wilson:
     
     
     
     
     
     
    It's Week 28 (day 192) since Florida's first confirmed case of COVID-19 and I'm proud of Florida's business community as Florida has been seeing a downward trend in the daily average number of new cases and hospitalizations. Protecting our health care capacity was, and is, one of the key goals of Florida’s pandemic approach and it’s working. Florida has remained one of the leading examples in the nation of what can be accomplished by following the facts and not the fear and following guidelines to wear masks, social distance and avoid large crowds. Florida has consistently protected our most vulnerable. As far as hospitalizations, since the peak of 9,520 hospitalized on July 21 due to COVID-19, Florida has decreased this number by two-thirds since, with a steady decline over the past several weeks as shown in the chart below.
     
     
     
     
    With a very busy Labor Day weekend having just past, it is possible we'll see another spike in cases, but hopefully Floridians and visitors largely followed the advice of national, state and local leaders to wear masks and physically distance. Florida was a top travel destination this past Labor Day weekend which was reflected in many of Central Florida's biggest tourist destinations operating - safely - at capacity.
     
     
    As we head into a very crucial few weeks following another holiday and the reopening of universities and public school districts across Florida, Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish and our research team will 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 also post the latest COVID numbers each day.
     
     
    Please find the latest cumulative COVID-19 numbers below:
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    7-Day COVID Numbers (Sept. 3 - 9):
    • Florida Cases: 18,706
    • 7-Day Avg. Daily New Cases: 2,675.3
    • Hospitalized: 1,359
    • Total People Tested: 137,442
    • Florida Reported Deaths: 614
     
    It is important to know how your county is trending. Our COVID-19 County Level Tracker is free and available 24-7, and is based on the latest data available.
     
     
     
    DR. FAUCI SAYS PAUSE ON TRIAL IS 'NOT UNCOMMON AT ALL' AFTER MAJOR CORONAVIRUS VACCINE TRIAL PLACED ON HOLD
     
    The question on everyone's mind as we work through the COVID-19 pandemic is: when are we going to have a vaccine? If you join us at our 2020 Future of Florida Forum Oct. 20-22, Florida Chamber member PhRMA will host a panel of experts to discuss just that. As we focus on moving Florida forward, the arrival of a safe, effective vaccine is vital in determining how quickly we can get society back to a more familiar state.
     
    This week, out of an abundance of caution, AstraZeneca said it paused its phase three trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine, called AZD1222, due to safety concerns. In a statement released Tuesday, AstraZeneca described the pause on its trial as a “routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials.” The company added that it is trying to expedite the review to “minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline.” READ MORE>
     
     
     
    $15 MINIMUM WAGE MANDATE ON NOVEMBER BALLOT -- YOU CAN HELP PROTECT FLORIDA'S BUSINESSES AND FLORIDIANS FROM NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF AMENDMENT 2
     
    Florida will have American’s first, state level constitutionally mandated $15 per hour (and ever increasing each year after that) minimum wage unless local businesses act right now to inform employees, family, and vendors of this incredibly harmful amendment. The same personal injury trial lawyers who are looking to sue small businesses during COVID-19 have paid millions - much of this to out of state professional paid signature gatherers - to get Amendment 2 on the ballot in November. This amendment will ultimately raise Florida's minimum wage to $15 per hour and then it will increase forever with an annual so-called cost of living adjustment. Now is not the time to put a $15 mandate in Florida's constitution when in some sectors, more than a quarter of small businesses may close permanently due to the financial hardship and uncertainty caused by the COVID pandemic. Imagine what this mandate would do to those local businesses who are already trying to survive.  
     
    The Florida Chamber has been informing our members of the negative impacts of Amendment 2 for well over a year. With small businesses struggling from the effects of COVID-19, it is simply not the time for a 75% mandated raise in Florida's minimum wage. Vote "No" on 2 and keep $15/hour mandatory wage out of Florida's constitution. Sign up today to aid our efforts.
     
    Sign Up
     
    Be sure to join us Sept. 21 for our September Board of Governor's Relaunch Florida Zoom call where we will be discussing Amendment 2 - as well as other crucial issues - heading closer to the election November 3.
     
     
     
    FLORIDA CHAMBER FOUNDATION UNVEILS AMERICA'S FIRST INTERACTIVE TOOL FOR ENSURING 100% OF OUR 3RD GRADERS CAN READ AND CUTTING CHILDHOOD POVERTY IN HALF
     
    Equity gaps exist in Florida and Florida’s global competitiveness depends on equality of opportunity in every zip code as well as a quality education system. For the business community, the right outcomes in education and opportunity simply must begin early. Pre COVID-19, 58 percent of Florida's third graders were reading on or above grade-level. Without metrics for the 2019-2020 school year, it is more important than ever to focus our efforts on investing in closing education gaps and providing equality of opportunity for each child in Florida. By the year 2030, Florida strives to increase the number of third graders reading on or above grade level to 100 percent to secure those who represent the future of Florida: our youngest Floridians. In addition, as part of the Florida 2030 Blueprint, and through the Florida Prosperity Initiative, we are cutting childhood poverty in half.  
     
    Today, thanks to the work and generosity of Florida's business leaders, the Florida Chamber Foundation has unveiled The Florida Gap Map, a tool that helps visualize the intersection of third grade reading scores for every public school in Florida with childhood poverty rates. The Florida Gap Map, a first in the nation, will help educators, parents, media and policymakers easily identify school level performance gaps, so business leaders can focus resources on helping close those gaps. 
    Engage with us at these
    Upcoming Chamber Events
     
     
     
    UP NEXT:
     
    September Board of Governors Relaunch Florida Zoom Call
     
    Monday, September 21
    2:00 p.m. EDT
     
    The November 3rd election is fast approaching, and I hope you will join us for this important call as we unite Florida business for good. As part of registration for this meeting, please take a moment to complete a small series of survey questions on business operations during COVID-19 and the upcoming election. Register Here
     
     
     
    REGISTER TODAY:
     
    2020 Virtual Future of Florida Forum
    
    October 20-22
    1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
     
    This year has been unlike any other in our history and while COVID-19 may have slightly diverted the course, our mission remains focused on securing Florida’s future. It is more important than ever. Join the Florida Chamber Foundation for
    9 hours of content over the span of three days which includes insight from some of the leading voices in Florida and the nation.
     
    Details and Registration
     
    *** Encourage your management teams and partners to participate! Download our
    Marketing Kit ***
     
     
     
    SAVE THE DATE:
     
    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.
     
    Become a Sponsor
     
    contact Faye Brainard at
    fbrainard@flchamber.com
     
     
     
     
     
    Government Affairs News and Updates
     
     
    U.S. Senate Republicans Release Skinny Text, Vote Expected This Week
     
    On Monday, Senate Republicans unveiled their most recent COVID-19 targeted relief package. The legislation includes liability protections for businesses and schools, $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits through December 27, an additional round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), funding for schools across the country, and $10 billion to the United States Postal Service (USPS). A complete summary may be found here.
     
    Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) filed cloture on the motion to concur, which will ripen one hour after the Senate convenes on Thursday. A vote on the bill is expected later today.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    FLORIDA RECOVERY UPDATES
     
     
    • This week, the Governor announced that the state would begin paying the additional $300 federal unemployment benefits under the Lost Wages Assistance Program as early as this week. This additional benefit will be available for any person unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 if they receive at least $100 in state or federal unemployment benefits and payments will be made retroactive to the week ending on August 1, 2020.  For more information and frequently asked questions, visit HERE.
     
    • Last Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed two Executive Orders. EO 20-213 extends the previous state declaration of emergency for an additional 60 days, or through November 3, 2020. For the full language click HERE. E0 20-214 granted Palm Beach County approval to move into Phase 2 of the Governor’s Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery. As stated in a previous executive order, Palm Beach county had to submit a separate written request to the Governor’s office in order to be considered for approval. The full language can be found HERE.
     
    • For a full list and summaries of the governor’s executive orders filed in response to COVID-19, check out the Florida Chamber’s guide
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Florida Chamber 2020 Election Guide Available for All Floridians - Please Share with Your Employees
    The Florida Chamber continues to be the unify business 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.
     
    In light of COVID-19, the Florida Chamber has gone to great lengths virtually interviewing candidates to ensure they will advance commonsense, pro-business efforts to further economic opportunity for everyone. With hundreds of millions of dollars being spent to influence your vote in Florida, you deserve a nonpartisan look at moving Florida forward.
     
    Download Your Free Copy
     
     
     
     
     
     
    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)
    What is Your Risk Level?
    By Diego A. Sanchez, CSP, ASP, CHST, OHST
     
    As we tackle working during COVID-19, employers and workers must be aware of their level of risk. Depending on the industry, some workers may have higher exposure to COVID than others. Based on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's [OSHA] guidelines, there are four employee exposure levels ranging from Very High to Lower Risk.
     
    The 'Very High' risk exposure category includes health care employees actively working with patients known to be infected with COVID-19 and laboratory personnel and morgue employees conducting aerosol-producing procedures.
     
    The 'High' category also comprises health care workers, including nurses and doctors who may come in contact with suspected COVID-19 patients but are not conducting aerosol-producing activities.
     
    The following two levels of exposure risks are where most US workers will fall under; this includes, but not exclusively, restaurant workers, factory workers, retail workers, constructions workers, to name a few.
     
    The 'Medium' level category includes workers that may come in contact, within 6 feet, from other people under the premises that anyone can be infected with COVID-19. Still, consider the locations of the establishment, as the level could be higher if the area is known as an ongoing community transmission hotspot.
     
    The 'Lower Risk' level includes workers who do not have to come in contact with anyone else during their typical duty day. These workers have minimal occupational contact with the public and other coworkers.
     
    Understanding the workplace level of risk can help employers take the necessary precautionary measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of infection of COVID-19. As operations seem to be moving forward and back to some normalcy, it is crucial not to let our guard down and continue improving our operations to ensure our workers and our communities' health and safety.
     
    If you have any questions or concerns regarding your employee's or your exposure level, please feel free to contact us; we are here to help you navigate through this pandemic in a safe and healthy way.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    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
     
     
     
     
     
    Free Enterprise in Action During COVID-19
     
     
     
     
     
    Publix tops People's COVID-era ranking of Companies That Care
     
    Florida Chamber member Publix Super Markets tops People magazine's 2020 Companies That Care list, recognized for its support of struggling farmers and charitable organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The supermarket chain purchased more than 11 million pounds of produce and 500,000 gallons of milk from farmers and donated it to Feeding America member food banks. The Lakeland, Florida-based chain’s charitable arm also donated $5 million to more than 30 food banks and 200 other charitable organizations across the Southeast. READ MORE>
     
     
     
     
     
     
    If your company has a “best practice” that you believe fellow Florida Chamber members can replicate, please email your story to Daniel Daglis at ddaglis@flchamber.com
     
     
     
     
     
     
    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
     
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