Update from Tom Baldrige – 12/02/2020

First and foremost, I hope this email finds you all well.

It’s safe to say there is a tsunami of challenges you are dealing with and I am hopeful that the Lancaster Chamber has helped smooth the way wherever possible.  We remain committed to helping every business get through these times and we welcome your input on how we can continue to help.

Please know as you manage the challenges and opportunities of your company, we continue to do all we can to ensure a positive business climate, inclusive of our ongoing advocacy work at the local, state and federal levels.

To that end, I wanted to alert you to a recent lost opportunity as Governor Wolf vetoed an important bill that would have included temporary safe harbor protections against unwarranted COVID-19 lawsuits for employers complying with public health guidelines.  The Lancaster Chamber had joined with many other organizations across the state in supporting the legislation and we were disappointed with the Governor’s action, particularly at a time when so many businesses are struggling to survive.

Prior to the Governor’s veto, we had reached out to him to express our support of the bill. You can read our letter and rationale for support here.

It is worth noting that almost 30 other states have enacted similar legislation to help business. Yet, the Governor chose to veto.

We want to thank the members of our local delegation that voted for the bill:  Sens. Ryan Aument and Scott Martin; and Reps. Bryan Cutler, Dave Hickernell, Steve Mentzer, Brett Miller, Mindy Fee, Keith Greiner and Dave Zimmerman.  We greatly appreciate their recognition of the importance of this legislation and their ongoing effort to provide for a positive business climate for Lancaster County companies. If you want to express your thanks and share your perspective on other solutions for your business, you can locate information on your elected officials here.

Despite the set-back, you can rest assured the push to advocate for business continues.  We would welcome your thoughts and real-life stories and on how government, at all levels, can best assist your business at this time.  We are in the process of developing our 2021 Pro-Business Agenda, so now is the time to weigh in with your thoughts!  Please feel free to provide your input via reply email or by calling Chamber Vice President Heather Valudes at 717.278.5482.

In the meantime, and in our effort to continue to assist Lancaster County businesses, I wanted to be sure you are aware of the following:

COVID-19 Resurgence Planning Webinar with Gov. Wolf and Sec. Levine – This Friday at 2:30pm, Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine will address the status of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, and offer critical clarity and guidance for the business community regarding liability protections, travel restrictions, mask wearing, mandatory telework requirements, and other health and safety measures impacting businesses statewide. This one-hour webinar is FREE and open to Pennsylvania’s business community at large as part of the PA Chamber’s Bringing PA Back initiative. You can learn more and register here.

Annual Economic Forecast Outlook – Join us for our annual tradition of hearing next year’s economic forecast at the national and local levels, followed by our always popular question and answer session. It is on Dec. 11. Register here.

Mental Health Series – We are offering two critical virtual mental health sessions for businesses and employees featuring Dr. Diller from WellSpan. Register for Part 1 on Dec. 8 here and Part 2 on Dec. 15 here.

Excellence Exchange – Our next Excellence Exchange program on Dec. 9 will feature businesses as they share their journeys in making positive differences in their company and community through servant leadership during COVID-19 challenges. Register here.

COVID-19 Resource Hub – We are consistently updating our COVID-19 landing page of resources to help you and your business navigate your path forward. Find it here.

Finally, let me state the obvious and remind you all that we are seeing the path forward. Everyday we get encouraging news regarding vaccines and treatments, providing increasing hope that the second half of 2021 could find COVID-19 mostly under control. For now, however, the threat remains as potent as ever and the need for every person and every business to be vigilant about following protocols remains absolutely critical.

Wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain social distance and get a flu shot!  Protect yourself, protect your co-workers, protect Lancaster County.

Be safe. Stay strong.

Tom Baldrige, President & CEO of the Lancaster Chamber