The Health Foundation of South Florida, Miami-Dade County, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Coalition of Miami-Dade Chambers of Commerce have joined forces to launch the “We Did It,” a pledge program that calls on the region’s small businesses to encourage employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The voluntary program’s aim is to help protect the local workforce as a means of bolstering the local economy and promoting South Florida as a safe place to travel and do business.
The “We Did It” Pledge calls on small businesses to commit to doing their part in three simple ways:
- Encourage employees to be vaccinated to help ensure safe, healthy workplaces;
- Protect South Florida’s workers, customers and communities;
- Reignite South Florida’s economy by helping to build consumer confidence.
The initiative — with the backing of more than 20 local chambers of commerce and other private sector associations, representing companies from Aventura to Homestead — launches on the heels of the recently announced federal mandate for all enterprises with 100 or more employees to require vaccines or weekly testing. In Miami-Dade, however, a whopping 97% of businesses have fewer than 100, employees, and the vast majority have under five. In addition, these small businesses employ more than 70% of the Miami Dade workforce.
“It is impossible to overstate the importance of the stability and health of Miami-Dade’s small business sector because it is the engine of our local economy,” said Alfred Sanchez, President and CEO of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. “Ensuring we have a healthy workforce not only helps businesses be more productive and less disrupted, it also fosters a sense of safety and confidence for customers.”
Small businesses that want to take the pledge can go to WeDidItSFL.com to download signs, stickers, email templates, web badges, social media, posters and other marketing materials to help them communicate and display their commitment to the health of their employees and customers — and to creating a safe environment in which business and commerce can thrive. They will also be able to access information, ideas and resources to help them promote or facilitate vaccines among employees, as well as a certificate from Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
The coalition said encouraging employees to be vaccinated or helping them get vaccinated, can benefit a small business because it keeps workers safe and heathy and reduces sick days, prevents a loss of productivity due to staffing shortages. It also can project a sense of confidence and safety to customers and clientsm they said.
At a press conference, the mayor said Miami-Dade County has come a long way since the Delta virus surge the county experienced. The county’s percent positivity of new COVID-19 cases now at about 2%, the lowest in the state, and about 86.3% of eligible people in the county are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Levine Cava and other leaders said the “We Did It” pledge can help lead the county out of the pandemic. Business leaders also hoping the initiative will help attract more customers and improve the financial situation for small businesses, which were hit hard during the pandemic, Sanchez said in the Miami Herald.
About 67% of small businesses in Miami-Dade were “severely negatively impacted” at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means half of them had to lay off half their staff or more, with 12% closing indefinitely, he said “Fast forward to today and we still have 33% of the businesses that are still negatively impacted and 41% that still haven’t gone fully back to the office. So it’s time for us to get this disease behind us and get fully opened in our economy,” Sanchez said.