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Events industry businesses feel a year behind during pandemic

Just two years after pivoting the focus of her floral business from retail to events, Lori Himes, owner of Abloom in Walkersville, was forced to pivot right back to retail because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Himes, who has owned the shop for more than 25 years, kept the business afloat and her employees on payroll by focusing on flower deliveries — something that saw a resurgence during the pandemic, with loved ones required to stay away from one another. Usually, most of her income is from weddings and funerals, both of which were much harder to coordinate in 2020.

Do companies need protection if employees get COVID at work?

Last summer, as the number of COVID-19 cases was spiraling, two U.S. senators introduced what was known as the “Safe to Work Act.” Designed to protect businesses and other enterprises from what was seen as an explosion of “insubstantial” pandemic-related lawsuits brought by their employees and meant to be part of the stimulus package, the effort failed. But the issue remains. And now Maryland, like many other states, is grappling with the question of just how much protection from pandemic-related lawsuits businesses need and deserve.

Richmond Fed CEO expects strong economy in second half of 2021

The CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond said Monday he expects the economy in the first quarter to be “bumpy” and then improve steadily as Covid-19 vaccines become more widely distributed. Tom Barkin provided his take during a fireside chat hosted by the Maryland Bankers Association where he touched on a number of issues related to the economy and the banking industry. He told some 180 bankers watching the virtual event that he will be closely watching what happens to spending patterns and inflation because people have saved so much money in their bank accounts during the pandemic.

blue lid soda bottles
Md. alcohol manufacturers lobby for right to deliver their brews through the mail

This Maryland General Assembly session has already produced an effort to keep the carryout cocktails flowing. Now the state’s alcohol manufacturers are seeking permission to further ease the convenience for stay-at-home imbibers by, among other things, shipping craft brews straight to a customer’s house. New legislation backed by the Brewers Association of Maryland, Maryland Wineries Association and Maryland Distillers Guild would allow local alcoholic beverage manufacturers to ship booze directly to consumers upon request.

Central Baltimore Partnership, Corner Team Boxing And Fitness Join Forces For Initiative To Promote Healthy Lifestyles
In correlation with American Heart Month, the Central Baltimore Partnership held an event Saturday to show the benefits of eating healthy and working out, but it’s a part of a much bigger initiative. At Corner Team Boxing and Fitness, kids learned the fundamentals of a sport that dates back centuries. But the gym goes well beyond teaching lessons in the ring. They offer free after-school, summer and STEM programs, as well as free WiFi.
Read More: WJZ
Md. retailers concerned pandemic causes issues for proposed statewide plastic bag ban

Maryland is currently considering legislation that would ban single-use plastic bags. But some say the pandemic is complicating things. Retailers in Maryland say a nationwide shortage of paper bags could make banning plastic bags difficult. Some manufacturers have switched from making paper bags to making personal protective equipment since the pandemic. “They’re not capable of producing either paper or reusable bags at a level that we’re going to need to get to here really quickly,” said Cailey Locklair, president of the Maryland Retailers Association.

Read More: WTOP
Payroll problems that shortchanged some Baltimore employees closer to being fixed, officials say

Baltimore’s self-imposed deadline to fix a payroll problem that has shorted the paychecks of hundreds of city employees came and went Friday even as officials say they are making significant strides. In a briefing to the members of Baltimore City Council, the city’s top finance, human resources and information technology officials said Friday that they have corrected all but four of the 19 issues that have plagued the city’s transition to new payroll system, Workday.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Silver Spring dance studio offers virtual dance classes, performances for Black History Month

A Maryland dance studio is using movement and the arts to educate and celebrate during Black History Month. Ever wanted to try ballet, African or jazz dance? Maryland Youth Ballet in Silver Spring is offering free and low-cost virtual dance classes with a focus on history and education for Black History Month. This is its second annual event and the virtual options have expanded this year.

Read More: WTOP
Montgomery County Cupcake Business Gives Portion Of Profits To Customers’ Charity Of Choice

A young chef in Montgomery County has found a sweet way to give back. It’s called Cupcakes With Purpose. Jay Rosenthal started the business back in 2019, combining his love of baking with his desire to give back. For every order of cupcakes purchased, he lets his customers chose a charity of their choice to give back to.

Read More: WJZ
Howard Hughes locks in new leases with five companies in Downtown Columbia

Five companies have committed to opening new offices in Downtown Columbia, developer Howard Hughes Corp. announced Thursday. The firms are leasing over 50,000 square feet of combined office space across three buildings, one of which is a 12-story tower at 6100 Merriweather Drive, located in the Houston-based developer’s emerging Merriweather District. The new leases include Advarra, Ames Watson, Applied Network Solutions, Insperity and Olive AI.

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