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: Wednesday, December 23rd
Phase 1 of the Plan for Florida’s Recovery took effect May 4, 2020 and was updated May 11, 14 and 15, 2020.
Phase 2 of the Plan for Florida’s Recovery took effect June 5, 2020 for all Florida counties except Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.
Phase 3 of the Plan for Florida’s Recovery took effect September 25, 2020 for all Florida counties.
Local governments may adopt requirements directly on businesses, operations or venues, including buildings, beaches and parks, that may be stricter than the state. Report a business that violates these orders to local law enforcement.
UPDATE: Friday, January 15th
Pre-registration for COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone 65 and older re-opens today, Friday, Jan. 15, following a new shipment of 10,000 doses from the State of Florida. Appointments start early next week and are expected to fill quickly.
- Registration begins at 10 a.m. today, Friday, Jan. 15, for additional COVID-19 vaccinations
- FL Dept. of Health in Pinellas, County and Fire paramedics partnering to distribute 10,000 vaccines
- Demand still exceeds state supplies: 250,000 seniors in Pinellas eligible for vaccines under governor’s plan
Read more on Pinellas Vaccine Pre-Registration here.
Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners emergency ordinance requires that citizens wear face coverings in most indoor public places, and restaurants and bars.
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 23rd
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.
Loading Zones for businesses that offer delivery or carry-out:
Upon request, two additional 15 min “Loading Zones” may be temporarily added on each side of any downtown block where metered or time-limited parking exists. Any business that serves food, that does not already have a dedicated parking lot, and wishes to take advantage of this program, please contact Keith Glasgow, Parking Division Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE DECEMBER 2020: Congress Passes (End-of-Year) Stimulus Package
As part of an end-of-year pandemic relief package, Congress has passed several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and created a “Second Draw” PPP for small businesses who have exhausted their initial loan. Other changes impact eligibility for initial PPP loans, the loan forgiveness process, and the tax treatment of PPP loans.
- Funds for businesses that received the first round of PPP funds but can qualify for another bite at the apple if they can show significant losses in 2020 over 2019
- Funds earmarked for non-profits and news outlets that weren’t eligible in the first round
- $15 billion for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions
- $20 billion for targeted grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program through the Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Tax deductions for business meal expenses
- Funds earmarked for “very small” businesses and lending through community-based lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions (DDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs). This includes $9 billion in U.S. Treasury capital investments in CDFIs and MDIs and $3 billion for the CDFI fund to support low income and underserved communities.
Changes to other programs:
Financial Assistance Programs
Under the PPP, small businesses can borrow money from private lenders without collateral, personal guarantees or fees. The loans may be eligible for forgiveness if funds are used to cover certain expenses, and they provide an important lifeline to businesses that are struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic.
To promote access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. Borrowers should turn to their lenders for additional guidance.
*READ: Relief Act: Updates for Small Businesses by the St. Pete Greenhouse
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).
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
Amount: Up to $2M and up to $10,000 emergency advance within 3 days
*On June 15, SBA resumed accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications from all qualified small businesses, including agricultural businesses, and non-profit organizations.
The SBA will provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. 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.
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.
- 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.
Amount: Current and new SBA loan payments
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.
- Partnership between Pinellas County and Pinellas Community Foundation (PCF)
- $29.7 million for nonprofit organizations in Pinellas County
- Application: www.pinellascf.org/CARES
This fund supports nonprofit organizations to cover increased demand for supplies and programs from the impacts of COVID-19. The program will focus on nonprofit agencies that provide community services in the areas of food, homelessness, behavioral health, and legal aid for housing. Grant approvals will be overseen by local committees including representatives from Pinellas County, PCF Board of Governors and other local partners. Eligible nonprofits can apply at www.pinellascf.org/CARES, starting Friday, August 7.
The Pinellas CARES Nonprofit Partnership Fund follows a similar program established in March by partners including PCF, Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and United Way Suncoast. To date, the Tampa Bay Resiliency Fund has distributed nearly $1.3 million in private funding to the community.
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.
TYPE: Grant and Support
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.
Support the staff of your favorite bars, restaurants, coffee shops, clubs, and salons. In an effort to show our appreciation and support, the St. Pete Virtual Tip Jar is compiling a list of St. Pete service industry workers and their Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal accounts to be shared widely.
Closed as of April 14, 2020
Amount: Up to $50,000 (more available for special instances)
Deadline: May 8, 2020
These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.
The Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund is open to artists residing in Pinellas County, arts organizations and small creative businesses located in Pinellas County, who face an immediate and urgent financial need, directly caused by an emergency or disaster situation.
For this Fund:
- Professional artists are those working in visual arts including, painting, sculpture, murals, photography, etc.; performing arts including theatre, music and dance etc.; literary arts; performance, multimedia, and social justice art; and who are making a significant portion of their income through production/performance/sale of their artwork.
- Arts organizations are 501(c)(3) organizations with the primary mission of providing arts and or cultural experiences to the public.
- Small creative businesses are retail businesses run by artists or in support of artists (such as galleries, art curators/installers, etc.) whose primary source of income is arts related, and whose primary business focus is business-to-consumer or direct/artistic services to artists or arts organizations
Donations can be made by clicking here. Or text ARTSHELP to 71441.
- 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.
- Paycheck Protection Program FAQs for Small Businesses
- Fisher Phillips: FAQs for Employers on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Florida Department of Economic Opportunity: Reemployment Assistance COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions
- An Employer’s Guide to Frequently Asked Questions about Reductions in Force and Unemployment Compensation Related to COVID-19
- CARES Act – Paycheck Protection Program FAQ courtesy of Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns, LLP
- Fisher Phillips: FP Beyond the Curve: Post-Pandemic Back-to-Business FAQs for Employers
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
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.
- Information Guide for the following financial programs: Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan and/or SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
- Details on eligibility for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Courtesy of Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns, LLP
- Webinar & Presentation Slides: Understanding the Paycheck Protection Program and its Interplay with Newly Mandated Sick Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Courtesy of Adams & Reese LLP
- Paycheck Protection Program One-Pager from Senator Marco Rubio
- Florida Lenders for Paycheck Protection Program
- Shumaker COVID-19 Client Resource Center: Legal & Legislative Updates
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.