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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New Chamber Resources & Services:

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

Here’s the Latest

UPDATE: Monday, May 18th

Governor Ron DeSantis announced Florida is moving to “Full Phase One” guidelines beginning Monday, May 18th.

Full Phase One: Infographic | Governor’s Presentation

Starting on Monday, May 18th, the new and expanded regulations include: 

  • Restaurants can offer outdoor seating with 6-foot spacing between tables and indoor seating limited to 50% capacity 
  • Retail stores can operate at 50% of indoor capacity 
  • Museums and libraries can operate at 50% (with local government approval. Check Pinellas County and City of St. Petersburg details below) 
  • Gyms can open with proper social distancing and self-sanitizing of equipment 
  • Elective surgeries can resume 
  • No changes to closures for bars, nightclubs, and theaters 
  • Schools remain distance-learning only 
  • Visits to senior living facilities are still prohibited 
  • Some state parks are open again 
  • Pharmacists may administer COVID-19 tests 

See the Executive Orders page for order #2020-123 Executive Order re: Full Phase 1: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery for more details.

NOTE: Please check the City of St. Petersburg Mayor’s Restart page regularly to ensure all local businesses and residents receive the proper information on how to operate your business legally and safely. 

Need More Help?
Our Business Resiliency Team will be ready to assist once they receive the county/city orders – we can be reached at www.growsmarter.com/brt if you have any questions on how this will affect your business. 

 

UPDATE: Monday, May 4th

Gov. DeSantis’ “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan”  focuses on Florida’s recovery and begins with guiding principles for reopening. In addition to addressing critical health considerations and increased testing, Florida’s initial Phase 1 guidelines support the highest level of practicable business operations while maintaining health and safety.  It also identifies key metrics upon which next steps will be based.

Phase 1 – Effective Monday, May 4 

  • Schools remain distance learning
  • Visits to senior living facilities are prohibited
  • Elective surgeries can resume
  • Restaurants: Outdoor seating with 6 feet of space between tables and indoor seating at 25% capacity
  • No change for bars, gyms and personal services such as hair dressers
  • Vulnerable individuals should avoid close contact with people outside the home
  • Everyone should maximize physical distance from others when in public
  • Avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for physical distancing
  • Face masks are recommended for face-to-face interactions and where you can’t social distance

The Governor has also released Executive Order 20-112 that further outlines Phase 1 guidelines including responsible individual activity, businesses restricted by previous executive orders, other affected business services and medical procedures.

View FAQs for State of Florida Executive Order 20-112 Phase 1 Recovery.

UPDATE: Wednesday, April 1st
The State issued a new Safer-at-home Executive Order that goes into affect Friday, April 3rd at 12:01 AM and end on April 30th.  The order requires “all persons in Florida to limit their movements and personal interactions” to essential services or activities for the next 30 days. The state will follow the guidelines outlined by the Department of Homeland Security when it comes to which workers and businesses are considered essential and non-essential.

View the full Executive Order here.

UPDATE: Monday, May 18th 

State of Florida & Pinellas County Additional Guidance for Phase One Reopening.

All of the following businesses may operate at 50 percent of their authorized
capacity under the Phase 1 reopening, except large spectator sports which may
only operate at 25 percent of capacity. All businesses must adhere to social distancing requirements.

  • Restaurants and food establishments licensed under F.S. Chapter 500 or
    Chapter 509
    o The 50% of seating capacity excludes employees
    o Outdoor seating unrestricted consistent with local law
    o No seating at bar counters where alcohol is served
  • Breweries
    o Per the State Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) guidance, may operate as long as there is a food truck associated with the brewery or the brewery has a restaurant in it, and they have outdoor seating.
  • Retail Sales
  • Museums/Libraries
  • Gyms/fitness center
    o Dance studios, yoga, and other fitness classes or similar activities
  • Personal Services Businesses, such as nail salons, barbershops, hair salons,
    cosmetology specialty salons, tattoo services, massage services, and other one-on-one services.
    o Appointment only; 15 minutes between appointments
    o No group appointments
    o Masks must be worn by employees
  •  Professional Sports
    o Large spectator sporting events up to 25 percent of capacity
  • Recreation and Large Venue

The following CAN request to Open: Vacation Rentals
o Pinellas County is currently seeking authorization from the State
of Florida to permit vacation rentals.

View Full Guidelines by clicking here.

UPDATE: Monday, May 4th

Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant

Pinellas County has initially identified up to $35 million in emergency relief funds to support the small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are available as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal stimulus package.
Pinellas County will provide emergency financial support through the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant for qualified small businesses that are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to orders to close or limit operations. This program is intended to help offset the significant, temporary loss of revenue to these qualified businesses during this pandemic, and to assist businesses in retaining and paying employees.

The program offers one-time $5,000 grants to qualifying small businesses to cover expenses such as employee wages, vendor bills and rent. The emergency relief is targeted specifically to help local brick and mortar businesses cover immediate financial needs. Grants are strictly limited to businesses located physically within Pinellas County. Funds can only be used to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures provided those costs are not paid by insurance or by another federal program.

Application Portal Open for Submissions: May 4 – June 1, 2020 
Learn More
  • Effective April 30, 2020 all pools may reopen and are limited to 50% of that pool’s posted capacity and everyone is directed not to congregate in groups of more than ten people and that people not of the same group must remain six feet apart.  Owners and operators must follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection of facilities.
  • Effective April 30, 2020 playgrounds and play equipment located at private child care facilities may reopen while following the Governor’s Executive Order of no more than nine children and one caregiver per classroom, provided that all equipment used by one group of children must be cleaned and sanitized before use by another group of children. Owners and operators must follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection of facilities. Public playgrounds remain closed.
  • Effective May 4, 2020 all Pinellas County public beaches and public beach parking facilities may reopen on May 4 and everyone is directed not to congregate in groups of more than ten people and that people not of the same group must remain six feet apart. Public beach restrooms may be open with enhanced cleaning and sanitation that meet CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection.
  • All residents are strongly encouraged to wear face masks per CDC guidance when in places of high foot traffic such as grocery and retail stores.
Learn More

UPDATE: Monday, May 4th

BEACHES WILL OPEN EFFECTIVE MONDAY, MAY 4th: By the order of Pinellas County, St. Petersburg’s beaches will reopen on Monday, May 4. This includes Lassing Beach, Maximo Beach, North Shore Beach, and the St. Petersburg Municipal Beach at Treasure Island.

Please be aware that swimming is not permitted at Lassing Beach.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines are still in effect. Please continue to practice physical distancing of 6 ft. or more and large gatherings are prohibited.

CITY POOLS WILL OPEN EFFECTIVE MONDAY, MAY 4th: The St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department will be opening North Shore Aquatic Complex and Walter Fuller Pool.

Learn more about City pool hours and operations.

Fighting Chance Fund

To provide relief to small businesses impacted by local COVID-19 orders, the City of St. Petersburg has created the Fighting Chance Fund – an emergency grant for St. Pete’s negatively impacted locally owned and independently operated small businesses.

The fund is expected to provide critical support to about 1,000 restaurant, bar, retail, and service-based businesses and their more than 3,000 eligible employees. The City’s goal is to help offset the significant, temporary loss of revenue during this global pandemic.

This is a City program that provides grants (not loans) in the form of $5,000 to impacted eligible businesses* and $500 to impacted eligible individuals.

Visit www.stpete.org/fightingchancefund to learn more.

UPDATE EFFECTIVE APRIL 16TH
The following athletic courts and amenities are closed to the public:

  • Dog parks
  • Skateparks
  • Jai-Alai court
  • Tennis courts
  • Handball courts
  • Pickleball courts
  • Basketball courts
  • Volleyball courts

Organized sports and pick-up games are prohibited in the parks.

The St. Petersburg Police Department is actively monitoring areas and amenities closed to the public and is educating individuals that violate closures on proper guidelines.

For more info visit the City of St. Petesburg’s website at stpete.org/emergency.

Businesses Offering Take-Out or Food Delivery:

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 keith.glasgow@stpete.org

Permitting Operations:

The City’s Planning and Development Services Department has transitioned most services to electronic and virtual formats in an effort to reduce person-to-person interactions.

While in-person services will be limited, the City Planning and Development team will strive to provide the same level of service to our customers through email, phone and virtual options.

All meetings will be handled as conference calls. All plans must be submitted utilizing electronic applications, and all “while you wait” services will be suspended. Please review the PDS Covid-19 Emergency Operation Procedures  for details.

Suspended in-person City Services

Effective Monday, March 30, in-person City services are suspended at the Municipal Services Center and Sanitation Administrative & Operations Buildings. During the closure, online/phone services are available to serve your needs. For contact information, click here for a quick reference guide.

Visit stpete.org/emergency for all city related real-time updates.

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.

Financial Assistance

Type: Loan
Amount: Up to $10M
Deadline: June 30, 2020

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020

Learn More

Type: Loan
Amount: Up to $2M and up to $10,000 emergency advance within 3 days
Deadline: Dec. 31, 2020

The SBA will work directly with state Governors to 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

Closed as of April 14, 2020
Type: Loan
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.

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.

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

Learn More

Donations can be made by clicking here. Or text ARTSHELP to 71441.

A unique partnership has been launched to help the critical organizations that provide assistance to the most vulnerable of our local residents being affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis. The Tampa Bay Resiliency Fund (TBRF) is a new strategic collaboration of the Pinellas Community Foundation, Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and United Way Suncoast with nearly $1 million of funding assistance available to nonprofit 501(c) organizations and governmental agencies.

Learn More 

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.

Learn More

To provide relief to small businesses impacted by local COVID-19 orders, the City of St. Petersburg has created the Fighting Chance Fund – an emergency grant for St. Pete’s negatively impacted locally owned and independently operated small businesses.

The fund is expected to provide critical support to about 1,000 restaurant, bar, retail, and service-based businesses and their more than 3,000 eligible employees. The City’s goal is to help offset the significant, temporary loss of revenue during this global pandemic.

This is a City program that provides grants (not loans) in the form of $5,000 to impacted eligible businesses* and $500 to impacted eligible individuals.

Visit www.stpete.org/fightingchancefund to learn more.

Pinellas County has initially identified up to $35 million in emergency relief funds to support the small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are available as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal stimulus package.
Pinellas County will provide emergency financial support through the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant for qualified small businesses that are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to orders to close or limit operations. This program is intended to help offset the significant, temporary loss of revenue to these qualified businesses during this pandemic, and to assist businesses in retaining and paying employees.

The program offers one-time $5,000 grants to qualifying small businesses to cover expenses such as employee wages, vendor bills and rent. The emergency relief is targeted specifically to help local brick and mortar businesses cover immediate financial needs. Grants are strictly limited to businesses located physically within Pinellas County. Funds can only be used to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures provided those costs are not paid by insurance or by another federal program.

Application Portal Open for Submissions: May 4 – June 1, 2020 
Learn More

Type: Grant
Amount: $5,000
Deadline: Until funds are exhausted

Funded by corporate and philanthropic partners, the Save Small Business Fund is a collective effort to provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers as we can. We hope these supplemental funds will help you get through the next days and weeks.

Learn More

Additional Financial Information & Assistance

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.

Additional Community Resources