COVID-19 SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES

The Greenhouse 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 helping small business owners, managers and employees during this rapidly changing situation. 
We want you to know that being of assistance and serving you, our businesses, is our priority – as is your safety. Our team is committed to continuing services, though our delivery of that service may come in different vehicles, including the use of technology-based learning and convening.
 
We will continue to follow the guidance of Public Health Officials and the City’s Office of Emergency Management. We are committed to communicating regularly so you have an understanding of what to expect.
 
Please reach out to info@stpetegreenhouse.com with questions or concerns. We are also interested in hearing any suggestions you have on how we can serve you during this fluid situation.
 
For employers or individuals seeking resources on workforce assistance programs, click here

Overview

UPDATED 8/31/20:  The City of St. Petersburg Office of Emergency Management is closely monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation and is working with County and State agencies. 

Please see all the latest resources related to business impacts from state, county and local below. 

On Friday, June 26, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) issued Executive Order 2020-09 which prohibits bars, pubs and night clubs (deriving 50% or less of their income from food sales) from serving alcohol for consumption on premises. These establishments are allowed to engage in sales of sealed containers for off premises consumption. Restaurants may continue to operate at 50% indoor capacity and are still allowed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption onsite so long as patrons are being served while seated at tables.

On Wednesday, June 3, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-139. Effective Friday, June 5, the state will move to Phase 2 of its re-opening plan which allows:  

 
  • Retail establishments can operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and sanitization practices.  

  • Restaurants maintain operations at 50% capacity but may begin to allow bar-top seating with appropriate social distancing. 

  • Gyms and fitness centers can operate at full capacity using appropriate social distancing and safety measures, including sanitizing equipment. 

  • The number of individuals allowed at social gatherings increases from 10 to 50. 

  • Movie theaters, bowling alleys and other entertainment-based businesses can operate at 50% capacity with appropriate social distancing and sanitization practices. 

  • Personal service businesses, including tattoo parlors, acupuncture, tanning salons and massage establishments may operate while adhering to guidance from the Florida Department of Health. 

Latest Pinellas County COVID-19 news: https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/

On June 23, 2020, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners passed an emergency ordinance requiring face coverings in most indoor public places. The county is distributing a limited number of face masks to residents who need them.
Read more…

Visit restartstpete.com for the latest City of St. Petersburg updates.

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
  3.  

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

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 keith.glasgow@stpete.org

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. Quick reference guide for contact information.

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.

Business Impact Surveys

If you are a business that has been impacted due to mitigation efforts related to preventing the spread of COVID-19, there are several organizations collecting data to help determine needs for financial assistance programs at the state and local levels. We highly encourage your business to submit each of the following surveys and share with your business community:  

Florida Governor 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. Note: This is not an application for financial assistance, but a preliminary assessment to report on local impact

COMPLETE SURVEY

Organizational Status Survey

Growsmarter St. Petersburg, in partnership with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and The Greenhouse asks businesses to please consider taking a moment to answer a few questions to help our local organizations understand the impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on your business. 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.

COMPLETE 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. 

COMPLETE SURVEY

Financial Assistance Programs

There are several programs available to Small Businesses related to COVID-19 impact that The Greenhouse will continute to monitor and keep up-to-date.  The program availability is constantly evolving.  For technical assistance or questions relating to any of the following programs, please reach out to our staff at info@stpetegreenhouse.com

Type: GRANT
Amount: Up to $10,000
Deadline: December 30, 2020

Important Note: Applicants are strongly encouraged to take their time to submit a complete and accurate application, including all required documentation, for the quickest response.

Grant awards will be based on review of complete and eligible applications and not on how early a partial application is submitted. Submitting an incomplete application will delay the review process.

NEW – Pinellas CARES Local Business Grants:

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners has approved expanded grant funding for Pinellas-based businesses most affected by the pandemic: in general, this includes businesses that were required to shut down or whose customers were required to shut down or stop doing business.
A list of eligible business types can be found HERE. 

The new program will assist businesses that have suffered economic damages from business interruption caused by COVID-19 since March 1, 2020, that were not covered by insurance or reimbursement from any federal program.

Businesses that make $3 million or less in gross annual revenue may qualify for up to $10,000 in grant assistance based on a sliding scale.

How to Apply

Qualifying business owners can use this single online application portal to be considered for one of the following grants:

  • Sliding Scale Grants of $2,500 to $10,000 are available for businesses making between $17,000 and $3 million in gross annual revenue.
  • Health & Safety Matching Grants of up to $10,000 to assist Target Industry Businesses in implementing COVID-19-related upgrades and safety precautions. Note: Gross annual revenue limits do not apply to these grants.
  • Business Diversity and Arts Microgrants help impacted business owners with barriers to participation in other grant programs to strengthen their business through direct financial assistance and professional services, including help with post-COVID business planning, record-keeping and preparing documents needed to apply for grant funding.

Type: LOAN

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

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

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

  • Partnership between Pinellas County and the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County (ELC)
  • $4.6 million for child care organizations in Pinellas County
  • Application: ELC will contact all eligible providers with application instructions via email.

Through a partnership between Pinellas County and the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County (ELC), $4.6 million will be available to help child care organizations whose business was negatively impacted due to COVID-19. The Pinellas CARES Child Care Provider Grant will provide one-time grants of up to $10,000 to cover expenses such as employee wages, vendor bills, rent, and health and safety investments.

Applicants must be licensed, located in Pinellas County, and open serving children at the time of application. ELC will contact all eligible providers directly via email with application instructions. Eligible providers that do not receive an email or need assistance applying can contact the ELC at 727-400-4436 or ceckrem@elcpinellas.org. Applications will be accepted starting Friday, August 7.

Pinellas County has launched several programs funded by the CARES Act to help individuals, families and businesses impacted by COVID-19. For full program information, visit http://cares.pinellas.gov 

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

  • 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

CLOSED AS OF APRIL 14, 2020

Type: Loan
Amount: Up to $50,000 (more available for special instances)
Deadline: May 8, 2020

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is ACTIVE.

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19.

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.

Type: LOAN
Amount: Up to $10M
Deadline: TBD

The SBA resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30am EDT

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.

Learn More

Public Health Resources

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.

As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health, safety, and security threats.

On this website you can find information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. Please visit this page for daily updates.

Additional Resources

Business Resources

The Greenhouse encourages preparedness prep for business owners. Please find some helpful links below. If you don’t have a continuity and prep plan, now is a good time to get started.

NOTE: The Greenhouse offers a Disaster Prep & Recovery for Small Business Owners workshop. Next date for this training is forthcoming. 

COVID-19 workforce RESOURCEs

Financial Assistance Programs

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

Job Opportunities

Local workforce community organizations

ST. PETE WORKS!
St. Pete Works! is a collaborative project of community-based organizations, working together with employers and local agencies to procide quality services supporting workforce opportunities in our community.  

 

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