We hope all of our members are staying safe and healthy and as productive as possible during this time. 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 days, the Maryland Chamber would like to highlight the good deeds being done in our communities by our members. Here is a great example of an act of “COVID kindness”:
As part of its multiyear plan to advance social justice and equality, Comcast announced on Monday, June 8, that it would commit funds to help small businesses that have been affected by extended closures in the wake of COVID-19. A substantial portion of those funds will go to businesses owned by people of color. In addition, Comcast plans to expand its Catalyst program, which focuses on investing in black, Latino and female entrepreneurs.
To learn more about how Comcast has assisted the community during the COVID crisis, check out the Member Spotlight interview here. To learn more about Comcast’s multiyear plan, see newsletter item #5 (below).
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 announces additional Stage Two reopenings
On Wednesday, June 10, Governor Hogan announced that the state can move forward with additional Stage Two reopenings. Effective today at 5 p.m., restaurants can resume indoor operations at 50 percent capacity, with appropriate distancing. Outdoor amusements and rides, including miniature golf and go-kart tracks, may also resume with appropriate health and safety protocols. Capacity at pools will be increased to 50 percent with safety guidelines still in place.
Effective next Friday, June 19, at 5 p.m., indoor gyms and other indoor fitness studios, including martial arts and dance studios, may begin to safely reopen at 50 percent capacity with strict health, distancing and sanitization measures, while casinos, arcades and malls may also begin to resume operations with safety measures in place.
You can read the governor’s full announcement here.
2. Maryland Chamber joins national initiative to address inequality of opportunity
On Tuesday, June 9, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce announced it is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on a national initiative to address inequality of opportunity.
The Maryland Chamber will join the U.S. Chamber’s national townhall event on June 25, which will bring together business and community leaders to discuss concrete actions that can be taken by the government and the private sector to address inequality and systemic racism through education, employment, entrepreneurship and criminal justice reform (registration details are forthcoming). As a partner on this important initiative, the Maryland Chamber plans to host local and industry-focused webinars to further the discussion.
3. COVID-19 webinar series
On Tuesday, June 9, the Maryland Chamber Foundation hosted another webinar in its COVID-19 Webinar Series: Get Maryland’s Citizens and Businesses Back to Work with the Talent Exchange. The Maryland Chamber has been pleased to help promote the rollout of Talent Exchange, a new technology 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. 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. We’d like to thank Eightfold.ai for joining us this week to demonstrate how Talent Exchange works. Click here to watch the recording.
4. COVID-19 Impact Survey
The Maryland Chamber has developed a COVID-19 Impact Survey to gauge how our members and other members of the business community have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The Maryland Chamber staff will use this survey data to support the ReNEW Maryland initiatives putting businesses and employees back to work.
These responses will aid in advancing the Chamber’s advocacy efforts at the federal level and help up better prepare for the 2021 state legislative session. Please take a moment to complete the survey.
5. Comcast announces $100 million multiyear plan to advance social justice and equality
On Monday, June 8, Comcast Corporation Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts announced that the corporation is developing a $100 million multiyear plan to advance social justice and equality. The plan will allocate $100 million to “fight injustice and inequality of any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability.” For the next three years, a total of $75 million will be allocated to the initiative’s five key focus areas—social injustice, employees, awareness and education, digital equity and small business opportunity—while the remaining $25 million will go toward media.
Mr. Roberts will work alongside Craig Robinson, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer for NBCUniversal, to spearhead these efforts and coordinate with business leaders at Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky to “build programs, allocate resources and partner with national and local organizations to drive meaningful change,” while asking employees for their input and ideas along the way.
For example, the three companies will partner with and provide significant grants to the National Urban League, the Equal Justice Initiative, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Action Network, the Community Justice Action Fund and more. The companies have also pledged to increase their financial support to eradicate bias in the workplace at all levels.
In addition, Comcast will use its multiple channels to promote and amplify multicultural content. The company has also stated that it will allocate a substantial amount of their funds to support small businesses impacted by the events of the last few months, while also providing airtime and commercial production when these businesses are ready to reopen. For more information about Comcast’s Plan to Advance Social Justice and Equality, please click here.
Click here to view up-to-the-minute COVID-19 resources on the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s COVID-19 resources page.