John Wright

Wright

With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I am reminded to encourage everyone to eat, shop and source locally at our member locations. Our business directory is available 24/7 online at puntagordachamber.com under Quick Links, the Your Chamber tab or in the top right corner of the homepage. Many restaurants and retailers have special Mother’s Day promotions going on, so this is the perfect weekend to enjoy all things local.

Even brighter news is that our area has been enjoying very positive responses to both COVID vaccinations and preventative protocols. The mask ordinance for the city of Punta Gorda did sunset last Friday, so now it will be up to individual businesses to determine their own protocols. The PG Chamber no longer will require a mask for entry, though they remain “preferred” for anyone not yet fully vaccinated. We have taken our lead from the Florida Surgeon General’s notice that states that masks are no longer required for fully vaccinated people. You should be aware though that events such as our Saturday Farmers’ Market are still permitted under a license that requires certain protocols to be put into place, such as distancing of tents, vendor mask wearing and provision of hand sanitizer. Until an updated or amended permit is processed, you may still observe current protocols being enforced. Please bear with us all as we transition through to the next phase of recovery.

Please also take particular care at outdoor events, such as the market. Wearing masks has caused a few people to stumble into road closure signs, which are required to avoid vehicular accidents. Those signs have feet to stabilize them on cobble streets, hence parking cones surrounding them. Be a smart pedestrian and watch out for signs in the middle of the street.

Many exciting new programs are making their way to our Chamber platform. Just over a month ago, we started a “Where’s John?” video program that highlights one member business every week. The video is shared on all of our social media platforms, our email newsletter and on our website. About 1,000 people have viewed each one so far and we see people commenting that they can’t wait to try out the business. All of the archived videos can either be viewed on our website or via the Punta Gorda Chamber YouTube channel.

Want to be added to the list of businesses to be visited? Simply call Tara at 941-639-3720 and she’ll get it schedule for you. Each video is about 2½ minutes long and gives you the opportunity to showcase your business for free as part of your membership dues. Coming soon, these videos, which we deliberately make entertaining, are also going to be posted on the homepage of The Daily Sun as well. As an added benefit, did you know that all new businesses to the PG Chamber are listed on our social media page, with more than 6,500 followers? This is a great way to get your business launched on, by far, the largest Facebook Chamber platform in the area. If you are not currently part of our Chamber family, now is the time to call Tara to receive a special month of May offering that will make your participation even more valuable. Membership is not restricted to businesses in Punta Gorda only. Anyone wishing to network and promote their business with the business community and citizenry of the city should consider being part of this Chamber, where “Membership doesn’t cost. It pays!”

Our Business Over Breakfast will be May 12 starting at 7:15 a.m. in the library room at the Four Points by Sheraton Punta Gorda Harborside. Business After Hours will take place on May 18, also at the Four Points by Sheraton Punta Gorda Harborside, starting at 5:30 p.m., but taking place on the patio of the Dockside Grill. Then May 26, we hold our Networking Luncheon at the Village Fish Market starting at noon with networking and lunch served at 12:30 p.m. Our guest speaker will be our very own chair of the board, June Amara, talking about another passion of hers, the Animal Welfare League. Cost to attend the lunch is $20. To RSVP to any of these events, call us at 941-639-3720. New members are always welcome, so you can see for yourself what others are talking about. Meetings are restricted to 50 people, due to COVID-19 protocols, until further notice and we do ask for masks to be worn until seated.

John R. Wright is president of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce jrwright@puntagorda-chamber.com.

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