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 2/24/21:  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. 

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.

 

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

Face covering ordinance in effect

Pinellas County remains under a face covering ordinance. The county is distributing a limited number of face masks to residents who need them.
Face Covering Frequently Asked Questions

 

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

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

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: LOAN (may be eligible for forgiveness)
Deadline: TBD

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.

UPDATE 2/24: The Small Business Administration is immediately implementing (beginning Wednesday, February 24) a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees.  Read Press Release

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 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 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
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.

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: GRANT
Amount: Up to $10,000
Deadline: November 13, 2020

This program is no longer accepting applications as of Nov. 13.  If you have questions regarding your previously submitted application(s) for these programs, please call Pinellas County Economic Development at (727) 453-7200 or email businesshelp@pinellascounty.org

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.

CLOSED – 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.
  • 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 

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

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

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