Business

Signs for Businesses to Post

To help businesses inform customers of the Pinellas County Face Covering Ordinance, several printable PDF files are available.


Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants

Program Stats as of July 10, 2020

Since opening applications on May 4:

  • 5,220 completed applications have been received.
  • 2,931 checks have been issued.
  • $14.655 million has been received by eligible businesses with approved applications.

The application period for Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants ended on June 30, 2020. All applications submitted before the deadline will be considered.
A new business assistance program will be considered by the Board of County Commissioners in July.

Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants assist local businesses that closed or significantly reduced operations due to the pandemic and the resulting statewide orders to curb the spread of the virus. Grants are limited to businesses with a commercial location in the county. 

The program will offer $5,000 grants to small businesses to cover expenses such as employee wages, vendor bills and mortgage or rent costs.

The program is strictly limited to businesses physically located in Pinellas County.

Eligibility Overview

  • $5,000 for qualifying small businesses with a physical location in Pinellas County (1-25 full-time employees, or equivalent part-time employees, including the owner)
  • Restaurants, bars, short-term lodging and other non-essential businesses impacted by the local or state safer-at-home orders are eligible
  • Larger businesses, non-profits and home-based businesses are not eligible
  • Funds can be used to pay employee wages, vendors, rent or other business expenses
  • No reimbursement is required
  • Businesses can only apply for this one-time assistance program to cover COVID-19 related costs that have not already been paid for by insurance or by another federal program.

Eligible small businesses may apply online. Those interested in participating in this program are encouraged to review all qualifications before applying to expedite the process.

View full program details.


Additional Resources for Businesses

Municipal Grant Programs

Short Time Compensation Program for Employers: This Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) program helps employers retain their workforce in times of temporary slowdown by encouraging work sharing as an alternative to layoff.   

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Resources:

For the latest updates about resources for Pinellas County businesses, visit Pinellas County Economic Development or follow on LinkedIn. Florida businesses can also visit http://floridadisaster.biz for more information.

Business Re-opening Status

Under the Governor’s orders the only businesses that cannot operate are nightclubs that derive more than 50 percent gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Bars and other vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages

Effective June 26, 2020, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation issued Emergency Order 2020-09 suspending the sale of alcoholic beverages by vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises that derive more than 50 percent gross revenue from such sales, including bars and nightclubs.

Emergency Order 2020-09 states that public food service establishments or “restaurants,” as defined under Chapter 509, Florida Statutes, may continue to operate for on-premise consumption of food and beverages at tables pursuant to the restrictions in Executive Order 20-139, providing for appropriate social distancing and operating at 50 percent of their indoor capacity, so long as these vendors derive 50 percent or less of their gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

Vacation rentals

Vacation rentals may take reservations and operate with restrictions.    Property owners and managers will receive comprehensive guidelines outlining safety and sanitation measures that must be followed to reopen. Reservations from areas identified by Gov. DeSantis as high risk must be for periods longer than the required quarantine period. Guests must be advised to practice CDC-recommended social distancing, and public seating must be situated, and common areas marked, to facilitate separation.

There are numerous other requirements listed under the categories Guest Safety/Health, Employee Safety/Hygiene, Property Cleanliness, Pools & Beaches and more.

Restaurants

Restaurants and food establishments may reopen dining areas with a maximum patron occupancy of 50 percent of the stated building capacity (as allowed by local ordinances). Outdoor seating is allowed without capacity percentage limitations, and, as of 12:01 a.m. on June 5, 2020, bar areas may be open with seated service.

Restaurants may continue to operate for on-premise consumption of food and beverages at tables pursuant to the restrictions in Executive Order 20-139, providing for appropriate social distancing and operating at 50 percent of their indoor capacity, so long as these vendors derive 50 percent or less of their gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

Read the latest guidelines for restaurants

Barbershops & Cosmetology Salons

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners is now under Governor DeSantis’ newly-issued Resolution 20-120 (PDF) allowing barbershops, cosmetology salons, and specialty cosmetology salons to reopen, with modifications for increased public safety. 

The State is allowing these establishments to reopen May 11 “provided they adopt social distancing and precautionary measures” that includes the following mandatory guidance (PDF):  

  • Scheduling by appointment only, 
  • No group appointments,  
  • Allowing 15 minutes between customers to allow for proper disinfecting practices, and  
  • A requirement that all employees wear masks while providing personal services.  

The governor’s office also provided answers to frequently asked questions (PDF)

Personal Services

Personal services, including but not limited to tattooing, body piercing,
acupuncture, tanning and massage, may operate with appropriate safety
guidelines as outlined by the Department of Health.

Gyms/fitness centers

Dance studios, yoga, and other fitness classes or similar activities may operate at full capacity. All businesses must adhere to social distancing requirements.

Retail Sales

Retail sales businesses may operate at 50 percent of their authorized capacity under the Phase 1 reopening. All businesses must adhere to social distancing requirements.

Professional Sports

Large spectator sporting events up to 25 percent of capacity may resume. Social distancing requirements must be utilized.

Pari-mutuel facilities, dog and horse racing

Pari-mutuel facilities, such as dog or horse racing facilities, may seek to operate with a written request from the County Mayor or if no mayor the County Administrator to the Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the approval of the DBPR Secretary.

Recreation and Large Venues

Entertainment businesses, including but not limited to movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, and arcades may operate at 50 percent of their building capacity, with appropriate social distancing between groups and appropriate sanitation.

Museums and Libraries 

Maximum patron occupancy at 50 percent of stated building capacity. Interactive functions/exhibits and child play areas must remain closed. Local governments may decide to keep museums and libraries closed.

See also the full list of state and local orders on media center web page.

Reporting Business Losses

Business can report economic losses related to COVID-19 online.

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.