Friday Five | September 25, 2020


“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

– Ruth Bader Ginsburg


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. In Conjunction with Maryland’s Inaugural Statewide Restaurant Week, Governor Hogan Relaxes Indoor Dining Capacity Restrictions.

As of Monday, September 21, at 5 p.m., indoor dining at Maryland restaurants can increase from 50% to 75% capacity, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced in a Friday press release. The announcement coincides with Maryland’s inaugural statewide Restaurant Week, which began Friday, Sept. 18 and runs through Sept. 27.

“As we continue with the third and final stage of our recovery, I want to commend our state’s restaurant industry for their incredible resilience this year and for their continued commitment to the health and safety of Marylanders,” Hogan said in his announcement. “To celebrate the first-ever Maryland Restaurant Week, I encourage Marylanders to support their favorite local businesses, whether you do so through delivery, curbside pickup, or by dining indoors or outside.”

Spokespeople for Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Anne Arundel County told WTOP they will keep indoor dining at 50% capacity. As with other reopening announcements, Hogan gave local jurisdictions discretion on whether to follow state guidance.

Maryland’s restaurant owners have been pushing for the change, according to reporting from WBAL. Marshall Weston, president of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, recently told the outlet that if indoor capacity could not increase as the weather gets colder and limits outdoor dining, “employees may be laid off” and some restaurants would have to consider closing altogether. But as recently as Wednesday, Hogan said that health experts in the state did not want to see indoor dining capacity increase.

“I’m pushing to get more capacity and want them to, but our doctors — because our positivity has not stayed down, it has gone flat — they are really strongly against it,” Hogan said, adding that “a big chunk of the infection rates come from bars and restaurants.”

Maryland’s leisure and hospitality sector gained 5,800 jobs in August, the most job growth of any sector in the state — a change Hogan linked to the state’s gradual reopening.

Full story here.


2. Purple Line Will Be Delayed as MDOT Seeks a Management Solution

Maryland transportation officials said Tuesday they will take over day-to-day management of building the Purple Line, at least temporarily, as soon as construction crews pack up and depart, a process that could come as early as next week.

They told the Prince George’s County Council there are firms eager to come in and guide the 16-mile rail project to completion, but they conceded that the demise of the state’s relationship with its original contractor, Purple Line Transit Partners, will lead to delays.

Maryland Transit Administrator Kevin Quinn told lawmakers the immediate priority is on making construction zones safe for the public when PLTP quits the project, a move made possible by the contractor’s court victory over the state earlier this month.

“We are evaluating every inch of the alignment over the next 30 days, taking a look at subcontractors, meeting with our subcontractors, to evaluate the work that can continue,” said Quinn.

He said the Maryland Transit Administration is still “evaluating” whether to keep the project in-house or hire a firm to take over for PLTP. “It’s a little too early to speculate and we’re looking at about a 4-to-6 month period to evaluate that. What I can say is there are a number of good contractors in this market who want to take on this work.”

For more on this story, click here.


3. Maryland Daily Record Announces Most Admired CEOs

Congratulations to our MD Chamber members for making The Daily Record’s list of ‘Most Admired CEOs’!

The following members of the Chamber were recognized for The Daily Record’s 2020 list:

Full list of 2020 winners here.


4. Maryland Chamber of Commerce upcoming events


2020 Election Briefing with the U.S. Chamber

When: Monday, October 14 | 11 AM to 12 PM

Join the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the U.S Chamber of Commerce, for a briefing on what to expect in the upcoming 2020 election.

On October 14, hear from U.S. Chamber vice president and national political director, Ashlee Stephenson, as she highlights what’s at stake for businesses in the 2020 election. With so many top issues on the line such as additional COVID-19 relief spending, much-needed infrastructure investment, and the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice, the voice of business has never been more important. Don’t miss this chance to learn more about the U.S. Chamber’s Vote For Jobs initiative and to hear the top priorities and concerns heading into November.

Click here to register for the webinar

9th Annual Maryland Chamber Cup

#Maskup, get out from behind the screen and join us at stunning Cattail Creek Country Club on Monday, October 26, for a fun and relaxing day on the golf course. Early-bird pricing is extended to the end of September. Round up your colleagues, invite your clients, or come on your own and we’ll team you up. Reserve your spots today!

Maryland business leaders and Maryland Chamber members look forward to this event all year, this year more than ever. We look forward to connecting with you and promise to deliver an experience that’s truly “above par”!

Registration includes:

Your participation in Chamber Cup and other MDCC fundraisers allows us to continually enhance our members’ experience and work toward achieving our shared goal of growing jobs, expanding our economy, and supporting our communities, now and into the future.

Click here to register for the Chamber Cup

Thank you to the Maryland Chamber’s Trustee sponsors!

Thank you to our Eagle Sponsors!
     

Thank you to our Tee Sponsors!

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cattail Creek Country Club has implemented the following measures per CDC guidelines that we ask all attendees to follow:


Equity & Inclusion Webinar #3| Inclusive economic & workforce development: Good for growth and good for communities

When: Thursday, November 12 | 11 AM to 12:30 PM

Cost: free | Zoom dial-in details will be emailed to attendees

As business leaders face the challenge of reconciling rising growth and rising inequality, the concept of inclusive economic and workforce development initiatives has emerged as the solution to the problem. Robert Matthews, Vice President of Workforce Development and Exelon Utilities Chief of Staff, Joe Jones, CEO, Center for Urban Families, and Sarah Hemminger, CEO, Thread will share approaches focused on growth with mutually beneficial outcomes for businesses, communities, and workers, including those in historically underinvested groups.

Moderated by:

Panelists:

Click here to register for the webinar


5. Hogan Seeks Reforms to Maryland Environmental Service

Gov. Larry Hogan said he is calling for systemic reforms to the governance structure, oversight, and management of the Maryland Environmental Service. The governor sent a letter Wednesday to leaders of the General Assembly calling for potential reforms.

The governor’s office said recent developments have brought to light serious issues with regards to the lack of financial oversight and controls in place at the corporation, including concerns with how MES handles expense reimbursements, salaries and bonuses, and their longstanding practice of paying generous severance packages to departing executive directors.

The issue came to light after the agency’s former director, Roy McGrath, left to become Hogan’s chief of staff. McGrath resigned last month as the governor’s chief of staff amid questions about his $234,000 severance payout.

Find the full story here.


Upcoming calendar of legislative briefings and hearings

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Thursday, October 1, 2020


Reminder: Fill out your census.

Maryland Planning Secretary Robert McCord is asking the business community to help spread the word by asking their employees and customers to complete the census. The date to complete the 2020 Census has been bumped up to September 30, 2020, from the end of October. Census data is important beyond simply determining congressional lines and it may play a factor in federal COVID-19 vaccine distribution to states when one is developed. Make sure you’re doing your part by filling out the census and encouraging others to do so as well. You can find more information at www.census.maryland.gov.

Click here to take the 2020 Census


 

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