We hope all of our members are staying safe and healthy and as productive as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the health crisis, the content of our Friday 5 emails has shifted to feature the top five COVID-19 news items and resources of the week.
Acts of COVID Kindness
As we all band together to get through these challenging times, the Maryland Chamber would like to highlight the good deeds being done in our communities. Here are two great examples of acts of “COVID kindness”:
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AT&T has implemented several initiatives benefiting the community, listed here on their website. One example is the recent announcement of three months of free wireless service for frontline nurses and physicians nationwide on the FirstNet network, built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority). Nurses and physicians can get a “$200 activation credit when activating a new FirstNet Ready™ smartphone on a new FirstNet Mobile-Responder plan,” and AT&T is offering free smartphones for life to public safety health agencies. Additionally, AT&T has suspended disconnections and waived fees, and expanded access and increased data to benefit customers and healthcare workers.
Tim’s Automotive & Towing has partnered with multiple vendors to offer a free service package to doctors, nurses, care workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The business began offering complimentary vehicle pick-up and drop-off for customers within a certain proximity to shops and launched a mini video series discussing vehicle maintenance tips. Tim’s Towing has prioritized the health and safety of employees and customers while remaining fully operational and retaining all employees throughout the public health crisis.
If you know of a Marylander or Maryland business or organization that is stepping up in the face of adversity to help others during the pandemic, please reach out to Kimberly Reach at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.
1. Governor Hogan update on COVID-19
At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Governor Hogan announced that his administration had procured a shipment of 500,000 COVID-19 tests from South Korea, worth $9 million. The testing kits arrived at BWI Airport last Saturday, thanks in large part to Maryland first lady Yumi Hogan, who helped to negotiate the delivery. Ms. Hogan is the first Korean American first lady of any state in the history of the United States.
“On behalf of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Governor Hogan, First Lady Yumi Hogan and the people of the Republic of Korea,” said President and CEO Christine Ross in a statement following the press conference. “These test kits will help to expand our state’s ability to identify sick patients, and is yet another important step toward eventual recovery from this unprecedented virus and economic shutdown.”
2. Congress votes to replenish the PPP
This past week, both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives voted to revive the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), intended to prevent small businesses from closing down and their employees from going on unemployment because of the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The $484 billion bill includes an additional $310 billion for the PPP, including $60 billion specifically for community banks and smaller lenders, as well as $75 billion for hospitals, $25 billion for testing, and $60 billion for emergency disaster loans and grants, which dried up during the COVID-19 crisis.
3. COVID-19: Update on PPP and the U.S. Chamber’s Path Forward
This morning, Stephen McAllister, director of the Eastern region for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, joined the Maryland Chamber for a webinar, during which he provided updates on the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including Congress’ recent vote to replenish the fund. He also discussed the U.S. Chamber’s recently released “The Path Forward,” an initiative to address how Americans and businesses can return to work safely, successfully and sustainably. A recording of the webinar can be found here and on the MDCC resources page.
4. Next Week’s COVID-19 webinars
Next week, the Maryland Chamber will host two more COVID-19 webinars:
Emotional Well-Being and Your Workforce in the Time of COVID-19: Taking Care of Your Employees
Tuesday, April 28
11:30 AM to 12 PM (EDT)
Representatives from Kaiser Permanente will discuss how to maintain emotional well-being in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics include understanding stress and anxiety and how they impact your workforce, as well as tools and resources to care for your employees.
COVID-19: Economic Outlook and Prospects for Recovery
Friday, May 1
11 AM to 12 PM (EDT)
Join us for a conversation with Tom Barkin, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Mr. Barkin will discuss the Federal Reserve’s recent and unprecedented actions and share his thoughts on the U.S. economy, including what the Richmond Fed is learning through business outreach, and the key components to a successful recovery.
5. Maryland Chamber promotes talent exchange, a free tool connecting job-seekers with businesses that are hiring
The Maryland Chamber is pleased to help promote the rollout of Talent Exchange, a new resource developed in response to the massive wave of layoffs and job losses occurring in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Employers with impacted workers and companies that are hiring to meet COVID-related demand can sign up to join the Talent Exchange to connect individuals to jobs. The tool is free of cost and was recently made available to state chambers of commerce, whose leaders are sharing the resource with their members and others in their respective states.
“The Talent Exchange website sums up the problem with two simple sentences: “Many organizations are letting people go. Others can’t hire fast enough.” Powered by artificial intelligence that understands transferable skills for any role and matches people accordingly, Talent Exchange was created by Eightfold.ai in partnership with The Food Industry Association (FMI) and supported by McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm.
Interview with Steve Vintz of Tenable
As part of our Member Spotlight series, our vice president of membership and development, Whitney Harmel, is interviewing members of the Chamber who are emerging as leaders in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. For her fourth interview in the series, she interviewed Steve Vintz, the CFO of the cyber exposure company Tenable, headquartered in Columbia, Maryland. More than 30,000 organizations around the globe rely on Tenable to understand and reduce cyber risk. Listen to the interview here to find out how Tenable is leading the charge in addressing the cybersecurity impacts of COVID-19.
Click here to view up-to-the-minute COVID-19 resources on the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s COVID-19 resources page.