- The U.S. Small Business Adminstration is taking steps with the Paycheck Protection Program to further promote equitable relief for America's mom-and-pop businesses. The latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program funding opened one month ago and the SBA is making major improvements to the program's implementation:
- For businesses with fewer than ten employees, the share of funding is up nearly 60%.
- For businesses in rural communities, the share of funding is up nearly 30%.
- The share of funding distributed through Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Despository Insitutions is up more than 40%.
- Learn more by visiting the Paycheck Protection Program website.
- On September 25, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 20-244 that places all of Florida into Phase 3 of the COVID-19 recovery plan, effective immediately. View the Executive Order by clicking HERE.
- Leon County launches local assistance program, Leon CARES. To meet critical community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, on Monday, August 17, 2020 the County opened its Leon CARES online portal to distribute millions of dollars in direct assistance to those in Tallahassee-Leon County impacted by COVID-19. Visit www.LeonCountyCARES.com.
- The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) released new guidelines for workers to return to the job after testing positive for COVID-19. Previously, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) included the option for workers to return to the job after two negative COVID-19 tests. Now, the CDC has revised its guidance, listing symptom-based criteria as the preferred option. Per the Florida Department of Health and the CDC, a COVID-19 test is not required for a person to return to work after being infected with COVID-19. A letter from the health department that clears the person to return to work should suffice. Employers are encouraged to direct employees to call the Leon County Health Department COVID-19 Call Center and request a letter. The number is (850) 404-6300 press 1. Each person will be evaluated for release, which is an average of 10 days. However, this time period could be longer based on individual health circumstances.
Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality (OEV) distributes cloth face coverings to businesses. Face coverings are available at OEV. A business with one location is eligible for up to 100 face coverings. Local businesses with multiple locations are eligible for up to 200 face coverings. For FAQs regarding the distribution of masks to businesses, click here.
- Office of Economic Vitality (315 S. Calhoun Street, Suite 110, Tallahassee, FL, 32301) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For a sample face mask sign to display at your business establishment, click here.
Effective June 5, Leon County will enter Phase Two of Governor DeSantis' Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida's Recovery. Learn more about the Governor's Phase Two re-opening plan HERE.
Governor DeSantis’ Phase Two Re-Opening
- Restaurants may still operate at 50 percent capacity.
- Restaurants may allow bar-top seating with appropriate social distancing.
- Bars and pubs may operate at 50 percent capacity inside and full capacity outside with appropriate social distancing. Patrons may only receive service if seated.
- Retail establishments may operate at full capacity with responsible social distancing and sanitization protocols.
- Gyms may operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and frequent sanitization.
- Entertainment businesses, including but not limited to movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades, may operate at 50 percent capacity with appropriate social distancing and sanitization protocols.
- Personal services businesses, including but not limited to tattoo parlors, acupuncture establishments, tanning salons and massage establishments may operate while adhering to guidance from the Florida Department of Health.
- Individuals over 65 or with underlying medical conditions are strongly encouraged to avoid crowds and take measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- All individuals that work in long-term care facilities should be tested for COVID-19 on a routine basis.
- All persons in Florida are encouraged to avoid congregating in groups larger than 50.
For small businesses, finding Personal Protective Equiptment (PPE) can be hard for those that do not have access to a supply chain. In a survey administered by the Office of Economic Vitality (OEV), Tallahassee-Leon County businesses said that their top concern for reopening is accessing PPE.
Businesses in Florida's capital can now vist www.OEVforBusiness.org to find a list of companies and organizations that offer these resources. This site connects businesses in the community with organizations that source, manufacture, or distribute PPE locally. The list of resources includes face masks, hand sanitizer, sneeze guards, clear partitions, gloves, and much more.
A complete list of organizations located in Tallahassee-Leon County that source, manufacture, or distribute PPE can be found at OEVforBusiness.org/PPE. If you company is manufacturing or distributing PPE and would like to be added to the site, contact info@OEVforBusiness.org
- Recently published, the U.S. Chamber’s Ready to Reopen: A Playbook for Your Small Business, is a very comprehensive guide that will help many small businesses navigate health and safety concerns during the pandemic.
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Extended Through August: On July 4, President Trump signed legislation (S. 4116) reauthorizing the Paycheck Protection Program through August 8, 2020. Enacted in March as part of the CARES Act, the $669 billion program has approved more than 4.8 million loans totaling more than $520 billion and supporting over 51 million jobs to date. The extension of the program through August will make available the remaining $134 billion to small businesses and qualifying entities. Learn more about the PPP here.
- Major Changes have been made to the Paycheck Protection Program due to the PPP Flexibility Act. For more information on those changes, eligible lenders, and much more, visit www.OEVforBusiness.org/PPP
- Leon County's Short-Term Vacation Rental Plan was approved by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Leon County’s Short-Term Vacation Rental Plan allows for short-term vacation rental reservations and guests in Leon County. Consistent with Governor DeSantis’ recent executive order and implementation of a “full phase one” reopening, the County’s safety plan was developed utilizing guidance from DBPR, the CDC, and the Vacation Rental Management Association for property owners and managers to utilize once they resume hosting guests. Recognizing the priority of keeping both residents and visitors safe, the County’s plan aligns with state guidance by restricting travel from international locations and states with substantial community spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, the County’s plan outlines industry best practices and safety guidelines for property owners and managers to ensure short-term vacation rentals are opened in a responsible and safe manner. Leon County’s Division of Tourism, in coordination with Leon County Emergency Management, will continue to review these guidelines throughout each phase of Leon County’s COVID-19 Response & Reopening Plan.
- CDC Releases Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to plan and respond to the coronavirus.
- OEV launches site listing PPE manufacturers. The website connects businesses and people with local vendors and manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE) including face masks, hand sanitizer, sneeze guards, clear partitions, gloves and other items. More here.
- OEV launches Open for Takeout initiative to support local businesses. The OEV team is committed to stepping in to promote our local businesses in ways that align with social distancing guidelines. To that end, the Open For Takeout initiative will spotlight restaurants remaining open and providing food service through delivery, take-out, curbside pickup, or drive up. Be sure to check out our map and support the many delicious local flavors. Learn more.
- OEV launches TLH2Go.com Website to Support #OpenForTakeout Initiative. This resource builds upon the success of OEV's #OpenForTakeout map and provides a comprehensive listing of more than 400 local restaurants with the latest information on hours, menus, and options for online ordering for delivery or take out. More here.
- Governor Ron DeSantis Activates Emergency Bridge Loan Program for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19. For more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 866-737-7232 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours.
- LearnFromALocal.com helps Tallahassee Businesses make ends meet. This online resource shares how-to videos submitted by area professionals and invites visitors to return the favor by making a voluntary financial contribution to those organizations. More here.
- Agency for Health Care Administration extends licenses for all assisted living facilities. To allow staff to focus on patient care and management AHCA has extended all licenses for facilities for 90 days.
- OEV Announces the Closure of $1M Grant after Awarding 487 Businesses - Within 10 business days of activation the program received an enormous response from businesses impacted by the pandemic, which resulted in $1 million funds being allocated to 487 businesses and 4,400 employees through the CEDR Grant application process closing prior to the April 24 deadline. No additional applications will be accepted at this time.
- Leon County Guidelines for Phase 1 - On April 29, the Governor announced his plan to reopening Florida. In accordance with the Governor’s executive orders, Leon County provided specific standard operating procedures which reflect the ways we will continue to ensure the safety of our employees. The link above could provide additional guidance to local business as they review and revise their own policies.
- Center for Disease Control – Interim Business and Workplace Guidance – This resource is from King County, Washington and is based on CDC guidance to employers. The guide walks business leaders through all the steps to plan, prepare, and implement action plans.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Control and Prevention – OSHA provides general guidance for all U.S. workers and employers including those unlikely to have occupational exposures to COVID-19 and those with potential occupational exposures to COVID-19. The general guidance provides information about environmental decontamination and worker training and includes additional resources for specific groups and their employers.
- World Health Organization: Workplace Readiness – WHO experts produced a guide of simple ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The guide provides simple precautions to implement now and planning measures to consider in case COVID-19 arrives in the community. Topics include preventative measures, travel considerations, and contingency planning.
- Cleaning and Disinfecting Recommendations for Community Facilities - Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings. Transmission of coronavirus in general occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites. Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials.
- Frequently Asked Questions Guide to COVID-19 - ChamberofCommerce.org has created a guide to the top 6 questions they have received from businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality (OEV)'s Business Resource Guide. OEV is offering a collection of resources for local businesses to receive aid and guidance during this difficult time. Learn more.