As our community continues to focus on the effects of COVID-19 on our businesses and the phased-in re-opening plan that began on May 18th and then was rolled-back on July 9th, it is our singular role at the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce to keep you informed, connected and positioned for a robust economic recovery.
The past month has been most challenging as we have seen significant spikes in the number of positive cases in Miami-Dade County and around Florida. This then created a roll-back to pre-Phase I for our restaurants – allowing only for outdoor seating (max 4 per table), take-out (order DIRECT please) and delivery. We continue to work with the City on temporary outdoor dining to help mitigate the impact on our restaurants, but are still moving slowly in phased-in approach.
This step-back is cause for concern as we have just begun to re-open and get a firm footing for our businesses to stand upon. But, we must be diligent, and find a balance between re-opening our businesses and making healthy choices. Please wear your face coverings and masks (and thus avoid a financial penalty/fine), honor social distancing requirements, group gathering limits, wash your hands, submit to temperature checks and make smart decisions. We need all of your support, especially are restaurants who have truly taken it on the chin this round. They feel singled out and to be honest, we understand their thinking and feelings. They have – in Coral Gables – done everything the right way and when gentle reminders were needed, they were made and take to heart.
Let’s do everything we can to support them right now by ordering direct, dining out al fresco and doing take-out! Please.
With input from the County, City, the Business Recovery Task Force and our own internal working group, we have published various re-opening plans by industry sector (retail, restaurants, personal services, commercial offices, hotels, gyms, pools, beaches and public spaces, etc.) to help guide you and your business. These have been driven by best practices, industry leader input, practicality and science. And of course, good behavior!
Our programming remains pivoted to the virtual space in order to keep you up-to-date on topics most critical to your business, its reimagination and recovery, even in its re-opening state. Please check our Chamber’s calendar of events for programs and committee meetings for July/August 2020 – there are multiple events planned for this week and next alone!
The latest update and links include the plus-up of the funding of Round 2 of the Paycheck Protection Program, which still contains dollars for lending after it was infused with an additional $310B to help save small businesses and keep your employees on the payroll. Please – call your lender to make sure you are in the pipeline – the deadline has been extended until August 8th! There have also been some updates to the PPP related to extended time frames that may be of import to your business, especially as it relates to loan forgiveness.
As we all know, Miamians and Gable-ites are resilient by nature and we could not be more proud of the way all of you have dealt with great uncertainty in a global crisis, stayed safer and home and continue to take good care of your families and friends. Now, however, it is about a safe re-opening and brightening that light at the end of the tunnel. With increased positive cases, that is in further jeopardy beyond our restaurants as leaders are talking about how to manage this crisis, even in recovery.
We will need your continued support to re-open in a healthy way. We remain impressed by the work all of you have done to face these unique challenges, even with a significant amount of continued anxiety and unrest and in our diverse community.
As you know, this is a moment for courage, humanity, belongingness and being neighborly – especially given the challenges of this past few months around our community and the country. Our goal is to create the strongest sense of connectedness and respect as possible. We hear you, we see you, we value you and we most of all, we love you! Stay tuned for a new initiative on Diversity & Inclusion that our new Chairman is working on.
We are heart-warmed by the kindness being shown and thank you for your care for your employees, neighbors and the community. We believe this shall be our finest hour in Coral Gables and in our Chamber.
To that end, we will continue to update you as resources become available and opportunities evolve…which can happen daily! We will also continue posting real-time updates on our social media platforms (@gableschamber on FB and IG), especially related to member announcements, re-openings and specials offered by local businesses.
We hope you will join our ongoing Chamber special promotion – Summer Lovin’! It is running on our IG page, @gableschamber right now. The next 6 weeks are about showcasing and spotlighting the very best of our businesses, across all sectors, all services and all sizes! This week is #homeiswheretheheartis and reminds us that it takes all of us to do the right thing in our recovery. You can even register your AMEX Card for a modified #smallbusinesssaturday promotion and receive a statement credit of $5 when you spend $10 in a small business (and you can do this up to 10 times!) That is AMAZING!
We also continue to honor the heroism of our first responders, city employees, front-line workers, health care providers and more.
Thank you for staying engaged and connected with our #1 ranked Chamber.
Now, let’s #gearupthegables for some #summerlovin!
Mark A. Trowbridge
President & CEO | Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce