Welcome to the West Tampa Chamber!
Businesses, non-profit organizations, & individual members merging our diverse resources for creative networking, helping businesses to succeed & grow, and neighborhood enhancement, while preserving West Tampa’s historical past.
Covid-19 Resources for Tampa Businesses
Updates About Our Members
We will be providing updates based on membership who are impacted by COVID 19. Check back here for changes and updates:
Member banks are currently only open for drive through and online or telephone business
Event & Meeting Postponements and Cancellations
The following West Tampa Chamber meetings and events have been postponed or canceled:
- All events in the month of March were postponed to a TBD future date.
- April 7th WTCoC Happy Hour at Bay Cannon– CANCELLED
- April 9th WTCoC Board of Directors meeting- to be held Via Zoom
- April 21st Monthly Luncheon- CANCELLED
Please refer back for any new updates as we progress through this pandemic.
Resources for Businesses
The West Tampa Chamber has collected a series of notices and resources for you and your business to help you navigate the changes of COVID-19 to our business community.
Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
Governor DeSantis has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which can assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Bridge Loan Program is managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. It will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. The application period is now open and will run through May 8, 2020.
For more information on the program, visit https://sbdctampabay.com/coronavirus/. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Small Business Development Center Tampa Bay at 813-905-5800 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours.
Federal Small Business Administration Disaster Loan
By declaration of a national disaster by the President of the United States, the SBA is able to offer disaster loans to all small businesses who meet the criteria. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The application period is now open can be accessed here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance. Contact the SBA directly with questions or for assistance: 1-800-659-2955 or (800) 877-8339. For more information on the disaster loan review this summary provided by the US Chamber of Commerce: https://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/023595_comm_corona_virus_smallbiz_loan_final.pdf
The SBA has also provided a Guide for Business, which will help employers plan and respond to COVID-19. To download this guide go here: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf
Federal Small Business Administration Payroll Protection Program (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.
For more information go here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp#section-header-1
Floridians whose employment has been negatively impacted because of mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance. For more information and to file a claim for Reemployment assistance go to: https://www.stateofflorida.com/articles/florida-unemployment/
CareerSource Tampa Bay is providing assistance with job opportunities and training services virtually. Call (813) 930-7400 or online at https://www.careersourcetampabay.com/. All offices are currently closed to in person visits.
Florida Department of Health (FDOH)
The FDOH’s dedicated page: http://hillsborough.floridahealth.gov/index.html has information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida, which includes The COVID-19 Toolkit with FDOH flyers and videos, the number of Florida cases by county, and much more. They also provide regular updates related to the progression of the pandemic. You can also call them at (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
To stay up to date on the corona virus check in often: https://www.cdc.gov/
There is a lot of detailed information and resources available for individuals, communities and businesses.
If you think you may have contracted COVID-19 or that you might need testing, check here for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
The Florida Chamber of Commerce
Facts not fear is the trending motto for the Fla Chamber of Commerce. Their corona virus resource page on their website has a lot of information business leaders can use to prepare for potential impacts from the Coronavirus. This webpage includes important links from Governor DeSantis’ office, the Emergency Operations Center, Centers for Disease Control, Florida Department of Health and our partners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and it will be updated regularly. https://www.flchamber.com/follow-facts-not-fear/
US Chamber of Commerce
The US Chamber of Commerce has a wealth of information available on their website on how they are fighting for businesses in the US during this pandemic. There are flyers available to help with work place preparation, graphics to help with social media and website postings as well as a guide with answers to the federal emergency loan. Go here for more information: https://www.uschamber.com/coronavirus
WTCoC member Akerman LLP has put together a page of resources and insights on potential business and legal issues that may arise as a result of COVID-19. View their webpage here: https://www.akerman.com/en/perspectives/coronavirus-legal-update-center.html
Visit Tampa Bay
Our community resource for what is happening in Tampa Bay has updated their website with online activities to include live streams at local theme parks and zoos, a coloring book and word search for the kids as well as downloadable Zoom backgrounds for your new telecommute. Go here for more details:
To better understand and measure the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s tourism industry, VISIT FLORIDA has created a data dashboard to track key economic indicators and trends.This one-of-a-kind VISIT FLORIDA dashboard will be constantly updated with the latest information and insight into the impact of COVID-19. For more information and to view the data dashboard,
Resources for Residents & Businesses
Florida Department of Health-Hillsborough County
FDOH-Hillsborough will facilitate testing if you are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath and meet any of the following criteria:
- Travel to or from a geographic area with widespread community transmission within the last 14 days.<
- Traveled internationally or taken a cruise within the last 14 days.
- Close contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 (coronavirus) within the last 14 days.
- Persons 65 and older with chronic health conditions.
- Any immunocompromised person.
Those who meet criteria should contact their health care provider. The health care provider will work with the local County Health Department (CHD) to determine if they should be tested for COVID-19. If you do not have a health care provider, contact the local CHD. Please call ahead before visiting your health care provider or local CHD unless you are experiencing an emergency.
For more information on COVID-19, please visit the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/
For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1 (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours a day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVIDemail@example.com.
Baycare hospital (St Joseph’s)
WTCoC member Baycare hospital/ St Joseph’s has a wealth of information that is kept up to date regarding testing, treatment and other faq about the virus itself. Visit: https://baycare.org/coronavirus#.XoKaVXJKj3g?hcmacid=a0Z1a0000046RCJEA2 for more information.
You can also reach them by phone: 1-800-BAY-CARE (1-800-229-2273).
City of Tampa
For information on Mayor Jane Castor’s and the City of Tampa’s response to COVID-19 visit https://www.tampagov.net/emergency-management/covid-19
Hillsborough County School District
The school district has transitioned to digital learning beginning March 30. Schools have just been ordered to stay closed through May 1st. To access resources and assistance with the digital learning process visit the school district’s resource page here: https://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/doc/2650/communications/resources/coronavirus/?utm_source=web&utm_medium=alert&utm_campaign=coronavirus
Free Meals for Children
The Hillsborough County public school district will also be providing meals to children under 18 at 147 locations around the county from March 23 to May, 1 2020 between the hours of 9 am and 1 pm Monday – Friday. Find more info about the grab and go locations here https://hillsboroughschools.org/doc/2661/superintendents-office/resources/coronavirusgrabngo/
Price Gouging Hotline
The Florida Attorney General has activated the price gouging hotline for anyone to report coronavirus-related price gouging. Incidents should be reported at 1-866-9NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or online at visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.
US State Department Travel Advisory Website
For information on travel advisories issues by the US State Department, please visit the website here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
News Updates Regarding Coronavirus
Federal Relief Package
The US Senate has passed a $2 trillion Coronavirus relief package that will include direct payments to Americans, an aggressive expansion of unemployment insurance, billions of dollars in aid to large and small businesses and a new wave of significant funding for the health care industry. You can read the full act here https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6819239-FINAL-FINAL-CARES-ACT.html
COVID-19 in Hillsborough County
For up to date news releases please check the Hillsborough county website: https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/
COVID-19 in City of Tampa
For up to date news releases please check the city of Tampa news center page on their website: https://www.tampagov.net/emergency-management/covid-19-news-center
Hillsborough County Property Appraiser
The Hillsborough County Property Appraisers office has granted all Tangible Personal Property (TPP) accounts an automatic 30 extension to file their TPP return. The deadline for all TPP Returns is Friday, May 1, 2020. Please note that while you are not required to submit a request form for the extension, all TPP Returns and supporting documentation must be submitted to the Property Appraiser’s Office by Friday, May 1, 2020. You may utilize our online filing system, or mail your TPP Return to our office. Any supporting documentation can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Property Appraiser’s Office is not currently open to the public.
On Friday, March 20, Governor DeSantis banned all Florida restaurants from serving food or alcohol on premises. Click here for updated info on the take out and delivery options available from our member restaurants.
Senior Shopping Hours
A variety of stores are now offering designated senior shopping hours throughout Tampa. This hour of shopping is intended for individuals age 65 and over. Here is a list of the participating stores and their hours:
Aldi: Tuesday & Thursday 8:30am
Big Lots: First hour daily
Costco: Tuesdays & Thursdays at 9am
Dollar General: Everyday for their first hour
Publix: 7am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Target: Wednesdays at 8am
Trader Joes: First hour every day
Walgreens: Tuesday at 8am
Walmart: First hour on Tuesday mornings
Whole Foods: Daily at 8am
Winn Dixie: Weekdays at 8am
TECO and Duke Energy have suspended disconnections due to non-payment through the end of the month.
What You Should Know
COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The Department recommends everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
- Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health;
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue;
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty; and
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
The CDC does not recommend that asymptomatic, healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers or people who are taking care of someone in those close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
When You Should Contact a Health Care Provider and Local County Health Department (CHD)
If you experience fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days after your travel or close contact with someone who has traveled to or from any destination under a CDC travel advisory. Call a health care provider and local CHD and mention your recent travel or close contact, unless you are experiencing an emergency. Please call ahead before visiting a health care provider or local CHD.
If you experience fever, cough or shortness of breath after close contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, call a health care provider and local CHD. The health care provider will work with the local CHD to determine if you should be tested for COVID-19. Please call ahead before visiting a health care provider or local CHD.
How You Can Help
Purchase Gift Cards for Local Businesses and Restaurants
Visit your favorite local, independently owned establishments (or, if possible, go online) and purchase a gift card directly from the business. This will help their bottom line in the short term and give you a fun evening out or exciting purchase to look forward to at a later date!
Feeding Tampa Bay
Feeding Tampa Bay will accept donations to help feed our most vulnerable population, the food insecure. Go here for more information: http://feedingtampabay.org/
Metropolitan Ministries will accept donations to help feed and clothe vulnerable families who are homeless. Go here for more information: https://www.metromin.org/how-you-can-help/donate-goods/
Mary Lee’s House
During times of crisis children are often abused or neglected. Mary Lee’s house helps provide a safe and loving place to be secure. Please donate here: https://maryleeshouse.org/make-a-difference/donate/
When disasters occur families are forced to be together for extended period of times. Not all families are created equal and domestic abuse rises during these periods. The Spring helps provide a safe place to women and children of domestic abuse so they can be secure. Please donate here: https://www.thespring.org/get-involved/ways-to-give/
Tips for Telecommuting or Working Remotely
We realize that many of our members may have adopted work-from-home policies for some of their employees. Here is a list of tips and practices that may be useful to employees as they shift from office work to working remotely:
- Designate a room or space as your “home office;” try not to work from where you sit when you get home from work.
- Let your kids and family members know that when you are in your “home office,” you are at work; call or text if you need something.
- This may be particularly challenging even for existing telecommuters with schools closed, businesses disrupted, etc.
- Follow the same basic routine in the morning for “getting ready for work;” don’t stay in your pajamas, etc.
- Maintain regular hours; take breaks and your lunch hour at the same time you would if you were at the office.
- Get out of the “home office” at the end of the day. (But follow social distancing guidelines during this pandemic.)
- There may be technical issues as you transition to remote work. Consult one of your team members who is “good with technical stuff” if possible.
- Schedule team or unit conference calls multiple times per week (to eliminate feelings of isolation).
- Call other co-workers or team members daily.
- Over-communicate with your supervisor and/or team members.
Tampa Recovery Hotline for Social Recovery and Business Relief in the face of COVID-19
Residents and business owners can call the Tampa Recovery Hotline at 1 (800) TPA-INFO for the following resources:
- Social Services: Residents can call this hotline to ask questions and get information on food assistance, senior services, financial resources, and more.
- Business Relief: Business owners can also get resources through this hotline, including information on the Small Business Bridge Loan, the City’s TAMPABIZ text-alert system, and other local, state, and federal resources as they become available to alleviate the burden of COVID-19.
Governor Activates Bridge Loan Program for Small Businesses
TAMPA (March 18, 2020) – The Florida SBDC at University of South Florida will facilitate the loan process for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, for small businesses in the Tampa Bay region.
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, activated by Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday, March 16, is available to small businesses in Florida that are experiencing economic damage as a result of COVID-19.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our community, and we understand that they are facing a challenging season ahead,” says Mayor Jane Castor. “I encourage all of our small businesses to take advantage of this great relief option while we continue working to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community and our businesses.”
Dear Valued Members of the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce & Tampa Community,
The West Tampa Chamber of Commerce is closely monitoring developments with the outbreak of novel coronavirus COVID-19 and its impacts on our business community. While we want to make it clear that, at this time, the West Tampa Chamber is open for business and ready to assist you where we can, we will be following any direction set forth by the State of Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis, the City of Tampa and the CDC.
A wealth of information can be found at our dedicated link HERE, including the Business Damage Assessment Survey (https://floridadisaster.biz/)
; links to resources from the SBA, SBDC, CDC and other organizations; and updates on local announcements, resources, and cancellations.
Chamber Cancelations and Closures
The following West Tampa Chamber events have been postponed or canceled:
- March 17th Ribbon Cutting Dress for Success - POSTPONED
- March 24th luncheon - POSTPONED date to be determined
Most importantly, please stay safe. Practice the following recommendations from the Center for Disease Control:
- Avoid touching your face (especially eyes, nose and mouth) with unwashed hands
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Avoid close contact with people showing symptoms of being sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Stay home when you’re sick
New WTC Members