St. Pete Sustainability & Resiliency Starts Here

The St. Pete Chamber recognizes the public health and potential economic impact of the COVID-19 virus on area businesses. We will be updating this page with pertinent information, resources and assistance with the goal of keeping our members and businesses informed during this rapidly changing situation.

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The Florida Scorecard – Pinellas County Metrics

Keep track of Florida’s key economic metrics and COVID-19 data with The Florida Scorecard™.  Updated regularly.

Here’s the Latest

UPDATE: May 3, 2021: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 2006 that places limitations on certain government action during states of emergency. Additionally, the Governor signed a new Executive Order suspending all local pandemic restrictions, including mask mandates.

The Executive Order can be found here: EO 21-102

This Executive Order does not prohibit private businesses from imposing their own requirements on customers or staff. The law also forbids businesses, schools, and government agencies from requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to gain entry.

UPDATE: May 3, 2021

Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 2006 that places limitations on certain government action during states of emergency. Additionally, the Governor signed a new Executive Order suspending all local pandemic restrictions, including mask mandates.
The Executive Order can be found here: EO 21-102

What does this mean for businesses in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County?
Pinellas County businesses are no longer subject to the County Order 20-14 that has been in effect since June 24th, 2020.

Specifically, local businesses no longer have to require customers or staff to wear face coverings or enforce social distancing. Additionally, mandates on spacing between tables and chairs, prohibitions on “bar service”, and requirements for customers to be seated in order to be served, are no longer in effect.

This Executive Order does not prohibit private businesses from imposing their own requirements on customers or staff.

We will continue to monitor these changes and offer resources on any further developments.


Latest Pinellas County COVID-19 Updates

Here’s the latest COVID-19 vaccine information & appointments in Pinellas County

UPDATE: May 3, 2021

Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 2006 that places limitations on certain government action during states of emergency. Additionally, the Governor signed a new Executive Order suspending all local pandemic restrictions, including mask mandates.
The Executive Order can be found here: EO 21-102

What does this mean for businesses in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County?
Pinellas County businesses are no longer subject to the County Order 20-14 that has been in effect since June 24th, 2020.

Specifically, local businesses no longer have to require customers or staff to wear face coverings or enforce social distancing. Additionally, mandates on spacing between tables and chairs, prohibitions on “bar service”, and requirements for customers to be seated in order to be served, are no longer in effect.

This Executive Order does not prohibit private businesses from imposing their own requirements on customers or staff.

We will continue to monitor these changes and offer resources on any further developments.


City of St. Pete has announced the “Race to Safe” campaign to help lead St. Pete to be the “Florida’s Most COVID Safe Community.” The campaign is aimed at slowing the spread of the virus now to avoid restrictions in the future.

City of St. Petersburg COVID resouces: stpete.org/racetosafe

Restart St. Pete Toolkits

In late April, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced that it was time to prepare to Restart St. Pete in a thoughtful and gradual manner, and with respect to federal guidelines and state and county orders. Visit restartstpete.com for the latest updates.

  1. Economic Recovery Plan Toolkit 
  2. Restart St. Pete Toolkit

UPDATE May 3, 2021:

Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The U.S. Small Business Administration rolled out details and application guidelines for its Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a $28.6 billion pot of relief money authorized by last month’s American Rescue Plan.

The program is open to restaurants, bars, food trucks and caterers. Breweries, brewpubs, wineries, distilleries and inns are also eligible, but must provide documentation that on-site sales accounted for at least a third of their gross receipts.

Informational Resources: 

Read more – “How Food Service Businesses Should Prepare to Apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund” by the St. Pete Greenhouse

SBA previously recorded webinar trainings:

Amount: Equal to pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location
Deadline: Until funds exhausted

As for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the government has released a 16-page sample application that business owners can go ahead and start working on. Among the details to know:

  • The basic formula: Businesses should calculate the difference in their monthly receipts in 2019 and 2020, not counting any pandemic-related relief loans and grants they’ve already gotten. (The formula is largely the same for businesses that opened midway through 2019, or in 2020 or 2021, with slight tweaks.)
  • Eligible expenses include payroll costs; rent, mortgage, utility and debt payments; costs associated with pandemic-related safety, including outdoor seating and protective equipment; and operating expenses including food, beverage and supplier costs.
  • Businesses that have already gotten Paycheck Protection Program loans are eligible, although any that still have open loan applications are expected to withdraw them. The amount a restaurant got from the Paycheck Protection Program will be a factor in the grant allocation.
  • Businesses that got Economic Injury Disaster Loans are eligible, but those that received (or have applied for) Shuttered Venue Operators Grants are not. And businesses can only apply for one Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant.
  • In addition to the portal, businesses can also apply by phone or through a Small Business Administration-recognized point-of-sale restaurant partner. Businesses can check with their tech vendors to see if they qualify as partners.
  • Small businesses will see nearly $10 billion in set-aside aid, including $5.5 billion for restaurants that made less than $500,000 in 2019. Priority will be given to businesses owned by women, veterans and the socially or economically disadvantaged; with these businesses getting first crack at relief during the first three weeks of the application process.

Learn more and apply at sba.gov/restaurants.

Financial Assistance Programs

Type: Grant (Opened April 26, 2021)

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.

Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees

Eligible entities include:

  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
  • Motion picture theater operators
  • Talent representatives
  • Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements

Learn More

Type: Loan (may be eligible for forgiveness)
Deadline: May 31, 2020

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. Borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness. 

SBA is currently offering PPP loans originated only by participating community financial institutions including Certified Development Companies (CDCs), SBA Microlenders, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) until May 31, 2021 or until remaining funds are exhausted. Please note that not all community financial institutions are participating in PPP.  Learn More

Learn More

Type: Reimbursement
Amount: Varies on fund use

PPP loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 60% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll).

Frequently Asked Questions about PPP Loan Forgiveness (8-11-2020)

Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. The loan forgiveness form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:

•    Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
•    Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the 24-week period after receiving their PPP loan
•    Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
•    Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30
•    Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined

For loans GREATER than $50,000:

Announced 10/9/2020 – SBA releases simpler application and process for businesses that received $50,000 or less in funds. Apply using the 3508S Form:

Type: Loan
Amount: Up to 6 months of working capital

The Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is currently ACTIVE.

The SBA aunched a new round of Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) assistance – called Supplemental Targeted Advances – that will provide $5 billion in additional assistance to 1 million small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have been most severely affected by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA also announced that the agency will extend deferment periods for all disaster loans, including COVID-19 EIDLs, until 2022 to provide more time for businesses to build back. 

Effective April 22, the SBA modified the Targeted EIDL Advance application process to determine if businesses also qualify for the additional $5,000 Supplemental Targeted Advance. SBA will contact eligible business entities to apply and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For details about the Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advance program, please visit SBA.gov/eidl

CONTACT:
Eligible entities can email questions about the SBA Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advance to TargetedAdvance@sba.gov, COVID-19 EIDL disaster loan payment questions to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov, and contact SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing).

Learn More

The Short Time Compensation Program is a voluntary employer program designed to help employers maintain their staff by reducing the weekly working hours during temporary slowdowns instead of temporarily laying off employees. If an employer establishes a Short Time Compensation Plan and an employee meets the qualifications to file a re-employment assistance claim in the state of Florida, the employee will receive a partial re-employment check to supplement their reduced paycheck.

  • Employers:
    To apply for the Short Time Compensation Program (required for employees to submit a re-employment claim), please follow this link to the Employer Login page of CONNECT.
    • As an employer, you must complete a Short-Time Compensation Plan application. A Short-Time Compensation Plan lasts for one year but can be renewed if your employees have returned to full-time work during the plan year.
    • At least 10% (not less than 2) of your employees in your total staff or in a particular department must work reduced hours.
    • Employers must name the employee participating in the program and must provide the Department of Economic Opportunity with the employee’s normal weekly hours (excluding overtime).
    • Employers must certify that they will reduce the employee’s normal number of weekly work hours by at least 10%, but no more than 40%.
      The situation must be temporary rather than a temporary layoff.
  • Employees:
    • You must be a full-time employee, (not part-time or seasonal) with a standard number of hours worked each week (excluding overtime).
    • You must meet all of the normal requirements to establish a Florida reemployment claim and you must provide the Department of Economic Opportunity with any necessary information or documentation.
    • While on the Short-Time Compensation program you must work and/or receive paid leave for ALL of the hours that your employer has you scheduled to work in order to receive Short-Time Compensation Benefits for a week.
    • Every two weeks you will be required to report your hours worked, plus any hours of paid leave from your Short-Time Compensation employer and if you have a part-time job, earnings from that part-time job.

Type: LOAN
Amount: Current and new SBA loan payments
Deadline: N/A

As part of SBA’s debt relief efforts,

  • The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.
  • The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.

TYPE: Grant
Amount: $2,000
Deadline: Until Funds are exhausted

The #FamilyCare Microgrant program is exclusively for licensed home-based childcare providers hard hit by the COVID crisis, who live and operate their businesses within the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). See the CRA map here.

The Program offers grants of up to $2,000 and business development support services to help home-based childcare providers to recover from COVID-related shutdowns, while becoming stronger for the long-run.

Learn More

TYPE: Grant and Support
Amount: Varies
Deadline: Until funds are exhausted

The #InThisTogether initiative by the One Community Plan team at Pinellas County Urban League will provide microgrants, free technology and one-to-one help to business owners struggling as a result of the COVID crisis. Microgrants are made possible by the funding support of the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, the City of St. Petersburg, the Grow Smarter initiative, the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, the Power Broker Media Group, The 2020 Fund, and dozens of grassroots community contributions.

#InThisTogether supports three microgrant programs.

  • #PayItForward (currently closed) – The beauty industry is one of the largest sectors in the black community economy. Social distancing guidelines caused a near-total shutdown of hair salons, barber shops and nail shops. #PayItForward  supports them with microgrants of $1,500 (shop/salon owners) and $1,000 (non-owner stylists, barbers and techs).
  • #4StPeteCreatives (OPEN)– South St. Pete’s creative community is struggling with the cancellation of events where many earn the bulk of their revenue. #4StPeteCreatives will invest in 25 creatives to provide $1,250 microgrants that include coverage of up to $750 in technology and tools to help them migrate to e-commerce. Participants will include graphic & web designers, digital artists, painters, screen printers, fashion designers, and other creatives.
  • #StrongerTogether (currently closed)– This project will help diverse “hard hit” business owners with microgrants of $1,500 combined with marketing support.

Business Resources

  • FL DEO Businesses Damage Assessment Survey 
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local businesses, including those in Pinellas County.The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement economic relief programs for businesses can begin.
  • Organizational Status Survey
    Please consider taking a moment to answer a few questions to help our Chamber, as well as our partners at Grow Smarter St. Pete and the St. Pete Greenhouse, understand the impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on your organization. Your responses will help us provide the best support that we can as we navigate this uncertain time together. All responses will be anonymous unless you choose to provide your name and contact information at the end of the poll.
  • One Community Local Impact Survey
    ONE Community, along with Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation (TBBIC), is in the process of pulling information on resources available for business owners impacted by the Covid19 virus’s spread.  Please complete the following impact survey to help determine need for local programs during this time.
  • Florida Department of Health: Community Action Survey
    Florida residents are encouraged to do their part in helping Florida flatten the curve by anonymously answering questions that range from age and residency, to recent travel, to potential COVID-19 contact.
    This community action survey is designed to gather information to help track and slow the spread of COVID-19 in Florida.
  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC): a global survey  ICC has launched in collaboration with the WHO to help (i) gather real-time information in the fight against COVID-19 and (ii) develop solutions that will help companies tackle the consequences of the pandemic.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. This page will be updated as new information is available.

Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave. Read More 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.

COVID-19 Workforce Resources

Individuals, families and small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic can now get emergency financial assistance through the County with the new Pinellas CARES fund.

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the Pinellas CARES financial relief programs, which are funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance for Individuals 
This fund provides one-time financial assistance to individuals and families who have lost jobs or significant income due to COVID-19 to help pay for overdue rent, mortgage and utility bills. Residents can text COVIDCARES to 898211 to apply for assistance.

Eligibility for Individuals 
Documentation of the following will be required for all requests:

Job or income loss directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. your workplace shut down under state or local orders): You will be required to provide documentation. Examples: paystubs, a letter from employer, proof of employer business closure.

Income restrictions apply: For example, income for a 1-person household cannot exceed $2,127 (or $4,367 for a 4-person household) during the month in which the assistance is applied for, with no more than $4,000 in liquid assets (cash, savings and checking).

Pinellas County residency: proof may include driver’s license or utility bill with current address.

Legal Status: proof of U.S. Citizenship, including naturalized citizens, or other legal residency status (i.e. permanent residents).

Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance will be managed by 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares and Pinellas County.

Learn more at this website.

Individuals who have been negatively impacted as a result of the mitigation efforts in Florida to stop the spread of COVID-19 may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance.

Individuals who may be eligible for Reemployment Assistance may include:

  • Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency
  • Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns
  • Those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Apply for Benefits

Frequently Asked Questions