Friday Five | May 1, 2020

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”:

The Baltimore Business Journal shared Emergent BioSolutions’ announcement last week that it is partnering with Johnson & Johnson to help support the creation of a coronavirus vaccine at its Baltimore Bayview facility. The adenovirus-based vaccine, produced by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, will be available next year. The partnership leverages the abilities of the Emergent’s Bayview facility, such as producing commercial volumes of the vaccine and bringing candidates into the facility at a clinical scale. Whitney Harmel, vice president of membership and development at the Maryland Chamber, conducted a Member Spotlight interview with Sean Kirk, executive vice president of manufacturing and technical operations at Emergent BioSolutions, in early April to discuss the mission of Emergent BioSolutions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, the AT&T Foundation announced in an April 23 press release that they donated $60,000 to help nonprofits in Baltimore. A $20,000 grant will support Healthcare for the Homeless, a $15,000 grant will support Moveable Feast‘s meal program, and a $25,000 grant will assist St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore cover increased expenses for food, PPE and sanitizing products for  homeless and vulnerable residents in Baltimore.

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 to share your story.

1. Governor Hogan Unveils Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery

In a press conference last Friday, Governor Larry Hogan unveiled Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recoveryhis plan to gradually and responsibly get our economy moving again in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The plan is built on four building blocks that are necessary for Maryland to move toward recovery: 1) expanded testing capacity; 2) increased hospital surge operations; 3) access to sufficient PPE for frontline healthcare workers; and 4) a robust contact tracing program. In addition, the plan outlines three phases for re-opening the economy that will assign activities and businesses to categories designated by the American Enterprise Institute’s Guidance for Governors report.

During the press conference, Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz described an effort by her department to engage the business community in providing input on how to safely return to work. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce will continue to tirelessly advocate for our membership in these ongoing discussions.

2. MDCC Unveils Safe Workplace: Best Practices and Baselines for Reopening Maryland

This past Tuesday, the Maryland Chamber introduced Safe Workplace: Best Practices and Baselines for Reopening Maryland, a set of guidelines for employers as they begin to think about reopening in a safe and responsible way in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rollout of MDCC’s best practices comes on the heels of Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery, Governor Larry Hogan’s plan to gradually and responsibly get our economy moving again, announced a week ago.

“We are grateful to Governor Larry Hogan for his steadfast leadership and to the Maryland Department of Commerce for engaging the business community in providing input on how to safely return to work,” said Christine Ross, president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber. “We are pleased to be a part of that effort and to introduce Safe Workplace: Best Practices and Baselines for Reopening Maryland, a product of the hard work and expertise of the Maryland Chamber’s COVID-19 Working Group. We will continue to advocate for our membership as we move into future phases of the economic recovery process, and we hope our guidelines will serve as a beneficial starting point for these discussions.”

To access Safe Workplace: Best Practices and Baselines for Reopening Maryland, click here or visit the Maryland Chamber’s COVID-19 resource page.

3. Recap of This Week’s Webinars & Maryland Chamber/Richmond Fed Survey

Thank you to our members who joined us for two webinars this week. We’d especially like to thank Amy Arnold, East Coast director of workforce health at Kaiser Permanente (KP), who led our Tuesday webinar on Emotional Well-Being and Your Workforce in the Time of COVID-19: Taking Care of Your Employees. Ms. Arnold discussed how to maintain emotional well-being in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics included understanding stress and anxiety and how they impact your workforce, as well as tools and resources to care for your employees.

The second webinar, COVID-19: Economic Outlook and Prospects for Recovery, occurred earlier today. We would like to thank Tom Barkin, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, for joining us to 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.

ICYMI: The Maryland Chamber and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond are conducting a survey of the Maryland business community. We are interested in understanding how your business has been impacted by recent events, how you are managing these extraordinarily difficult times, if sufficient aid has been available to your business, and what challenges you anticipate as you look ahead. It is essential for policymakers to understand how businesses, small and large, are impacted by COVID-19 and how they are responding. Please take a moment to participate in the survey, available here.

Full recordings of the webinars with KP and the Federal Reserve Bank can be found here and here and on the COVID-19 resource page.

4. Upcoming Webinars  

Over the next couple weeks, the Maryland Chamber Foundation will host two more COVID-19 webinars:

COVID-19: SBA Paycheck Protection Program Updates and Implications

Register here

Friday, May 8

10 to 11 AM (EDT)

Representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration Baltimore field office will join us to provide updates on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Presented by:

Stephen Umberger, District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration, Baltimore District

The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019

Register here

Tuesday, May 12

11 AM to 12 PM (EDT)

Join the Maryland Chamber Foundation for a free webinar as representatives from Whiteford Taylor Preston discuss the new Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019. Small business owners now have the lifeline they need to work through a rough patch, cyclical downturn or other unexpected problem by taking advantage of the new Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (the “SBRA”).

SBRA is a significant change in existing bankruptcy law that greatly reduces or eliminates many of the costs associated with a bankruptcy reorganization, expedites the process for a quick turnaround, and preserves ownership and control of the business.

Given the number of businesses suddenly faced with the prospect of insolvency, the SBRA feels like must-know law. It is described as a game changer for small and medium-sized businesses, as it allows access to a quicker and less expensive reorganization, at the same time making it easier for a business to maintain equity interests.

Presented by:

Dennis J. Shaffer, Partner, Whiteford Taylor Preston

Brent C. Strickland, Partner, Whiteford Taylor Preston

We hope you will join us for one or both of these webinars. And if you have any questions you’d like to have answered throughout the course of either webinar, please submit them to no later than noon on Friday, May 8.

5. MDCC 2020 Legislative Report Coming Soon

The Maryland Chamber is proud to lead its membership, policymakers and other external stakeholders in support of policies that promote free enterprise, job creation and economic expansion. Throughout the 2020 legislative session, we worked diligently to support the passage of state legislation that would serve those goals, and prevent the passage of bills that would not.

In the coming days, we will be releasing our 2020 Legislative Report–a comprehensive review of all state legislation that the Chamber tracked, supported or opposed throughout the 2020 legislative session, and the final status of those bills. We look forward to sharing the final report with you soon.

Click here to view up-to-the-minute COVID-19 resources on the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s COVID-19 resources page.

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