Friday Five | January 29, 2021

Did you know: Smith island is entitled as the only populated off-shore island in the United States. If you want to visit this island, you need to catch the ferry. Smith Island cake is also Maryland’s official state dessert.

Each Friday, the Maryland Chamber will bring you the top five news stories from the intersection of business and government. Here are this week’s top five stories.

 1. Senate Democrats Unveil $520 Million COVID-19 Fiscal Relief Package

On Wednesday, January 27, 2021, Senate Democratic leaders unveiled a $520 million coronavirus fiscal relief package aimed at helping both the state’s small businesses and its most vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic. The legislation, the Recovery Now Amendment, is being introduced as an amendment to Governor Hogan’s administration $1 billion RELIEF Act, which held its first Senate Budget and Taxation Committee hearing this past Tuesday.

Senate President Bill Ferguson estimates that the legislation’s business assistance provision provides a total of $125 million helping 192,000 Marylanders and about 20,000 of the state’s small businesses and non-profit organizations. Further assistance will come to Marylanders from the COVID-19 RELIEF Act introduced by Hogan, which will provide more than a billion dollars in immediate and targeted financial relief and tax cuts for working families, small businesses and those who have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To read more, please click here.

 2. Governor Hogan Announces Opening of Mass Vaccination Sites

On Tuesday, January 26, 2021, Governor Larry Hogan announced new actions to expand the state’s COVID-19 vaccination network. The Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland National Guard, in partnership with local jurisdictions and private partners are currently in the process of establishing mass vaccination sites in at least six central locations statewide.

By Friday, February 5, vaccinations will be underway at both Six Flags America in Prince George’s County and the Baltimore Convention Center. M&T Bank Stadium will also serve as a mass vaccination site.

At this time, over 396,661 doses of the vaccine have been provided to Marylanders and officials estimate 2 million to 3 million shots are needed to immunize everyone currently eligible in Maryland.

To read more, please click here.

 3. The U.S Chamber of Commerce Strongly Supports the Masks Mandate

Following the inauguration, President Biden implemented a series of executive actions to address key crises. Among one of his first acts as President, Biden asks Americans to commit to 100 days of wearing masks. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports this initiative and commends the new administration’s commitment to defeating the virus and restoring the economy.

“With 400,000 American lives now tragically lost, we must join together to fight the pandemic through multiple fronts: masks, social distancing and the vaccine. When our nation returns to health, we can work together to fully realize a broad-based economic recovery that creates jobs and restores economic opportunity for all,” said Suzanne P. Clark, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“President Biden’s call for 100 days of mask-wearing is a smart and practical approach and one that we are proud to join. United, there is no foe — not even a pandemic — Americans can’t beat.”

To read more, please click here.

 4. Maryland Officials Call for Schools to Open no Later than March 1

On Thursday, January 21, 2021, Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent Karen Salmon expressed their immediate efforts for students to return to classrooms, at least part-time, no later than March 1, 2021. The state leaders cited health metrics that have begun to show improvement and research showing that schools are not virus “superspreaders,” while making the case that the academic and psychological toll of virtual schooling is the highest among Maryland’s most vulnerable students.

The state’s two largest school systems, in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, have had only online instruction since closing schools last March. To slowly shift away from this, Hogan and Salmon proposed that by March 1, the state’s 24 school systems should switch to a hybrid learning approach, combining in-person instruction with online lessons.

To read more, please click here.

5. Survey for Maryland Employers to Identify Industry Credentials of Value

The Maryland State Department of Education Division of Career and College Readiness, Maryland Business Roundtable for Education and Governor’s Workforce Development Board are collaborating to conduct a comprehensive review of industry credentials of value that high school and postsecondary students can earn in career and technical education (CTE) programs of study offered throughout the state.

Credentials of value are those that are required for employment or provides a competitive advantage for hiring in a particular industry. If you are a Maryland employer,

your feedback on this survey is critical to ensuring that Maryland students earn industry credentials that will fill Maryland’s current and future workforce pipeline.

To take the survey, please click here.

Check out our Maryland Chamber Events Page for all of our Upcoming Webinars, Briefings, and Sponsored Events!

Upcoming Calendar of Legislative Briefings and Hearings

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Friday, February 5, 2021

Wearing a mask in public lets us live life more safely. And it keeps you and everyone around you better protected from coronavirus. The more we mask together, the faster we get back to enjoying life…together. So, just carry on, masks on, Maryland.






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