Follow Facts; Not Fear
TROPICAL STORM ETA UPDATE: Eta was downgraded back to a tropical storm before making landfall on Florida’s west coast north of Tampa early this morning. While it was downgraded from a hurricane, it is hitting Florida residents with strong storm surge and gusty winds. The storm continues moving northeast. Please stay safe, and our thoughts are with those impacted by the storm especially in south Florida where they are still dealing with heavy flooding from the storm which made landfall in the Florida Keys earlier this week.
A Message from Chamber President & CEO Mark Wilson:
It’s Week 37 (Day 255) and another national holiday has come and gone as no one could have imagined that 255 days later, Florida, along with the rest of our country and many countries across the globe would still be dealing with COVID-19. Yesterday, as I referenced above, I hope you took the time to reflect on and pay respect to all of those who have served in our military in honor of Veteran’s Day and gave thanks to the men and women who have made sacrifices and fought for the freedoms we enjoy. Without Veterans fighting for and preserving our freedoms, we could not fight for free enterprise – because there would be none. For every business owner large and small it is a point of pride to have something to call your own that you built and work hard to maintain. Living in a country where this is made possible by the sacrifices of those who have served our country is something to be proud of and we are forever grateful. It is because of the power of free enterprise and competition that it is looking promising an effective vaccine has been developed, tested, and will hopefully be safely distributed in well under a year’s time. This is the power of free enterprise and the very thing that will help society move forward. While the global and national numbers are rising again, I’m urging Floridians to continue working together to keep COVID from overwhelming our healthcare system, and I’m asking Florida’s business leaders to continue protecting your customers and employees, just as you’ve done, to remain open safe and smart while protecting our most vulnerable.
Please find the latest cumulative COVID-19 numbers below:
The number of COVID cases has shown a gradual increase over the past couple of weeks, however hospitalizations and reported deaths remain 70 percent lower than at the last peak in July. 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. As cases vary regionally, we also offer a breakdown of data by county so you can know how COVID-19 is trending in your area.
7-Day COVID Numbers (Nov. 5 – Nov. 11):
- Florida Cases: 36,889
- 7-Day Avg. Daily New Cases: 5,269.9
- Hospitalized: 1,226
- Florida Reported Deaths: 378
VACCINE CANDIDATE FOUND TO BE 90 PERCENT EFFECTIVE IN PREVENTING COVID-19
Florida Chamber member Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine appears to be working. The vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective, according to clinical results released by the company Monday. This news comes from an interim analysis of a study involving 43,538 volunteers, 42% of whom had “diverse backgrounds.” Each participant got two injections spaced 21 days apart. The analysis compared the number of cases of COVID-19 among the volunteers getting the vaccine with an approximately equal sized group of volunteers who got an injection of a liquid that didn’t contain the vaccine. In a news release from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, the company said results from 94 evaluable cases of COVID-19 among study participants indicated the vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration set a minimum effectiveness bar at 50%. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine in development to have data showing that it exceeded that mark. READ MORE>
IN UPDATED GUIDANCE, CDC SAYS WEARING A MASK PROTECTS THE WEARER AS WELL AS THOSE AROUND THEM
Throughout the pandemic, the Florida Chamber has continued to endorse the wearing of masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday updated its guidance on coronavirus-related face masks to include protection for the wearer in addition to those around them. The update takes the federal health agency’s previous stance further, which held that wearing a face mask can lower virus spread to others. The CDC said early research supports community masking to lower virus spread, particularly when it’s estimated that more than half of transmissions stem from asymptomatic people. READ MORE>
DEO offers Extended Unemployment Benefits Update
Extended benefits are a federal program implemented by the state and Florida hit the trigger for extended benefits for the first time since 2009. This program authorizes an additional six weeks of benefits to eligible individuals during times of high unemployment. However, due to Florida’s dropping unemployment rate, extended benefits will end on November 7. Only individuals who exhausted state unemployment benefits and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits between June 7, 2020 and November 7, 2020 will be eligible for the six weeks of extended benefits, once the application becomes available sometime in December. Otherwise, individuals who have exhausted PEUC benefits after November 7, 2020 may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which is another source of unemployment assistance benefits. For more information on the various levels of benefits available and eligibility requirements, individuals are encouraged to visit here.
With Election Over, the Florida Legislature Returns to Tallahassee Next Week: Organization Session Next Tuesday Comes With COVID-19 Guidelines
Next Tuesday, November 17th, the Florida Legislature will hold its ceremonial “Organization Session” for all returning and newly elected members. This mini-session is constitutionally required to be held 14 days after the General election for the purpose of organization and the selection of officers. Both incoming Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker-designate Chris Sprowls have released coronavirus protocols to minimize public health risks during the Organization Session. These guidelines apply only to the Organization Session and can be found here in the Senate Memo and House Guide.
2021 Committee Weeks Announced
This year there will be no December committee weeks, and updated coronavirus safety guidelines will be ready by December 30 for the five interim committee weeks in January and February. The full 2021 interim committee meeting schedule can be found here. The regular 2021 Legislative Session will convene on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.There is much speculation that some, or all, of the committees will be held virtually. This is speculation at this point and we will keep you informed as decisions are announced. Annually, over 50 local chambers of commerce visit Tallahassee with the Florida Chamber’s assistance during the legislative process and we’re hoping to be able to host you again – stay tuned as these partnerships are important to our work in unifying Florida’s business community for good.
2021-2022 Florida House and Senate Leadership Appointments
Last week, certain leadership appointments for the 2020-2022 Florida Legislative term were announced for both the Florida Senate and the Florida House. In the Senate, Senator Aaron Bean has been nominated by incoming President Simpson to serve as the Senate President Pro Tempore and Senator Kathleen Passidomo will serve as the Rules Chairs. The full memo announcing these proposed appointments can be found here. In the House, Representative Bryan Avila will serve as the Speaker Pro Tempore, alongside the following House Leadership team including full committee chairs . Speaker-designate Sprowls also announced changes to the House Committee Structure, which can be viewed here. The Florida Chamber team is looking forward to advancing our competitiveness agenda with these leaders.
House Rules Changes Outlined On Monday, Speaker-designate Sprowls released the new Rules and procedures of the Florida House of Representatives. The House memo and graphic highlight a few of the changes including an increase in the House Member bill limit from 6 to 7 bills; pushing the House Bill Drafting deadlines to January 19, 2021, for a member’s first two bills, and January 29, 2021, for the remainder; and prohibiting the funding of an appropriations project at less than 50% of the requested amount. More details are covered in The Guidebook on Changes to the House Rules and in House Resolution 1-O which contains the complete set of Rules for the 2020-2022 term.
CITY Furniture Hosts Roundtable on Pandemic Recovery Strategies
CITY Furniture hosted U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for a Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance CEO Roundtable about pandemic recovery strategies. Secretary Ross toured the showroom and distribution center at the national Top 50 furniture retailer’s million-square-foot headquarters complex before discussing the pandemic’s South Florida economic impacts with governmental officials and top executives from the region’s aviation, real estate, education, accounting, retail, banking and legal sectors.
Among the other corporate and governmental leaders joining Commerce Secretary Ross at the Alliance Roundtable were Broward County Mayor Dale Holness, Spirit Airlines President/CEO Ted Christie, Broward College President Gregory Haile, National Jets President/CEO Sam Robbin, Florida State Representative Chip LaMarca, Gunster Chairman and former U.S. Senator George LeMieux, Tamarac Assistant City Manager Kathleen Gunn, Wells Fargo Senior Vice President Erick Strati, Stiles Chief Investment Officer Rocco Ferrera and Keefe McCullough Managing Partner Bill Benson. READ MORE>
Results from 6-Month Study of the Challenges COVID-19 Placed on Florida’s Food Producers/Distributors to Be Released by Universities
A team of researchers from Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert College of Business and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will present the preliminary findings of their 6-month study of the challenges that the Coronavirus pandemic placed on Florida’s food producers and distributors. These findings are the focus of FGCU’s 2nd Annual Agricultural Forum. The Forum will “kick-off” Farm-City Week – November 18-25.
FGCU’s 2020 AG Forum, scheduled on November 18, 2020 beginning at 8:30 a.m., will be conducted virtually as a Zoom meeting and will summarize dozens of personal 1-hour interviews with key producers and distributors throughout Florida’s agribusiness supply chain. For more information and details on the upcoming 2020 AG Forum, please contact Dr. Fritz Roka, Director of the FGCU Center for Agribusiness at email@example.com and David Outerbridge, Director of the UF/IFAS Lee County Cooperative Extension Service at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update to the Term “Close Contact” During COVID-19
By Diego A. Sanchez, CSP, ASP, CHST, OHST
The Center for Decease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the term ‘Close Contact’ as it relates to COVID-19. Updated October 21, 2020, ‘Close contact’ now means 15 total minutes of exposure to an infected person at a distance of 6 feet or less over a 24-hour period. For example, three five-minute periods within 24 hours meet the new definition. Previously, close contact was considered 15 consecutive minutes of exposure at 6 feet or less in 24 hours.
The CDC also refers to some factors that need to be considered regarding close contact with people infected with COVID-19.
- Proximity – closer distance likely increases exposure risk
- Duration of exposure – longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk
- Presence of symptoms – the period around the onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding
- Likelihood of respiratory aerosols (e.g., coughing, singing, shouting)
- Other environmental factors (e.g., crowding, adequacy of ventilation)
- Whether exposure was indoors or outdoors
It is crucial to remember that this new definition does not take wearing a mask into consideration; in other words, wearing a face-covering or an N95 respirator does not influence or modifies the definition of the term ‘Close Contact.’
Wearing a face mask complements social distancing, meaning that we must wear a mask and stay apart from other people at least 6 feet. This new updated definition of the term ‘Close Contact’ changes how exposure is viewed; now, we must be aware of how timing plays a role in potential exposure to COVID-19.
Stay safe, wear a mask, maintain proper social distancing (6 feet or more) and practice hand hygiene frequently.
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 email@example.com.
Insights from Florida Chamber Insurance Summit: Auto glass AOB replacing property AOB market
Insurance providers want protections against malicious assignment of benefit cases. Speakers at the Florida Chamber’s Insurance Summit backed the effort to create protections against possible abusive litigation. READ MORE>
What will the $15 minimum wage mean for area businesses and workers?
Florida Chamber Foundation’s Dr. Jerry Parrish discusses the impact COVID-19 has had on small businesses in Florida. READ MORE>
Florida Voters Support 97% of Florida Chamber-Backed Legislative Candidates
Chamber-backed candidates went 86 for 98 on Election Day. Florida Politics contemplated the train, the election, and the aftermath to develop a comprehensive look at who walked away with the win and who didn’t. READ MORE>
Florida lawmakers urge businesses to be patient regarding COVID-19 liability bill
During the Florida Chamber’s Annual Insurance Summit, Florida lawmakers said COVID-19 liability protections will be a priority when the state Legislature convenes in March. It will take a 60-day session’s worth of vetting and discussion to pass a law that will withstand legal scrutiny. READ MORE>
Thank you for your continued support as we work to unite Florida’s businesses for good. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
President & CEO
Engage with us at these Upcoming Florida Chamber Events
2020 Virtual Future of Florida Forum & Annual Meeting
Oct. 20 – Oct. 22
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Relaunch & Reimagine Florida’s Future
Stronger Together, Reuniting Business For Good
This year has been unlike any other in our history and while COVID-19 may have temporarily diverted the course, our mission remains focused on securing Florida’s future. It is more important than ever.
Join the Florida Chamber Foundation and the Florida Chamber for 9 hours of content over the span of three days! The 2020 Forum will focus on Florida’s path forward and will feature insight from the leading voices in Florida and across the nation.
Click here for details and registration.
Interested in sponsoring our mission?
View Sponsorship opportunities here.
Contact Aaron Kinnon at email@example.com
Yesterday, Bristol Myers Squibb committed $300 million over the next 5 years to accelerate and expand the effort to address health equity and diversity and inclusion. The highlights of yesterday’s announcement:Clinical trial diversity: Increase new clinical trials in areas with highly diverse populations and train racially and ethnically diverse new investigators through a clinical trial infrastructure and workforce development program.
– Health disparities: Address health equity and improve health outcomes for under-served populations.
– Workforce representation: Achieve gender parity at the executive level globally by 2022; Double executive representation of Black/African-American employees in the U.S. by 2022; Double executive representation of Hispanic/Latino employees in the U.S. by 2022.
– Supplier diversity: Increase our spend with diverse suppliers and create innovative programs and partnerships to create jobs and generate positive economic impact in diverse communities.
– Employee giving: Provide 2-to-1 match for U.S. employee donations to organizations that fight disparities and discrimination. READ MORE>
We are proud to see our members join us in our initiative to end inequality of opportunity in Florida for good.
Florida is stronger when business is united. Thank you for placing your confidence in the Florida Chamber and the team that works every day to make Florida better. We are a historically resilient state, and I have no doubt we are on our way to a brighter future. Please continue to read and share this update with your executive team, family and friends, and encourage them to sign-up to receive their personal copy. If you have any suggestions or questions at any time, I invite you to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President & CEO
Florida Chamber Partner Spotlight
Economic Recovery Resource Links
• Guide to SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
• Guide to PPP Loan ForgivenessGuide to Coronavirus Paid Leave Programs
• CARES Act Healthcare Provider Relief Fund Guidance
• Guide to the Employee Retention Tax Credit
• Workers’ Compensation Insurance Guidance Related to COVID-19
• Department of Business & Professional Regulation Guidance
• Take the Business Damage Assessment Survey
• DOL Required Families First COVID-19 Employer Notice Poster
• Reemployment Assistance Service Center
• Reemployment Assistance Paper Application
• DOR Extends Corporate Income Tax Return and Payment Due Dates
• Payment Due Date for 2019 Tax Payments Delayed for 90 days
• Main Street Lending Program
• ‘The balloon might pop’: Fed’s corporate intervention spurs anxiety
• Helen Aguirre Ferré exiting Governor’s Office to be Executive Director of Florida GOP
• This is what internships look like in a remote world
• U.S. jobless claims held nearly steady at 1.3 million in July 11 week
• EU extends travel ban on Americans amid spike in US coronavirus cases
• Registration to vote in Florida’s primary closes Monday
• Senate GOP aims to funnel cases COVID liability cases to federal courts
Registration to vote in Florida’s primary closes Monday
The Aug. 18 ballots in most counties will include partisan primaries for congressional and legislative seats. Also, voters will cast ballots in local races, many of which are nonpartisan. Read more here.
Helen Aguirre Ferré exiting Governor’s Office to be Executive Director of Florida GOP
Read more here.
Publix to require customers to wear face coverings at all stores
The company said signs announcing the requirement will be posted at store entrances, and in-store announcements will be made. Young children and those with medical conditions will not be required to wear face coverings Read more here.
Industrial Average ended trading 135.39 points lower, or 0.50 % at 26,734.71. The S&P 500 finished 0.34% lower and the Nasdaq Composite closed 0.73% lower.
Announced that it will require its customers to wear masks or face coverings in all of its stores beginning August 1.
Said customers must wear masks inside all stores starting July 21.
Said it will give $25 million to help small businesses in rural areas.
Announced that starting Monday, all customers are required to wear a face covering when entering stores.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that France will make masks compulsory in all public indoor areas starting next week.
Turkey’s Bogazici University developed a stethoscope that can analyze sound via artificial intelligence and diagnose lung diseases, including the novel coronavirus. The technology relies on three main elements: a small device that can listen and record breathing sounds, an application for mobile devices, and intelligent algorithms that constantly learn and support the diagnosis of the doctor with the host computer.
National and global updates brought to you by the Florida Chamber in partnership with Hill+Knowlton Strategies.