Coronavirus (COVID-19)

State of Florida
Office of the Governor

Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-244, moving all of Florida’s 67 counties into Phase 3. Executive Order 20-244 does the following: 

  1. Removes state-level restrictions on businesses, such as restaurants. 
  2. Provides that no COVID-19 emergency ordinance may prevent an individual from working or operating a business, giving Floridians and business owners needed certainty and the ability to provide for themselves and their families. 
  3. Provides that restaurants may not be limited by a COVID-19 emergency order by any local government to less than 50% of their indoor capacity. If a restaurant is limited to less than 100% of its indoor capacity, such COVID-19 emergency order must satisfy the following: 
    1. Quantify the economic impact of each limitation or requirements on those restaurants; and 
    2. Explain why each limitation or requirement is necessary for public health. 
  4. Suspends all outstanding fines and penalties, and the collection of such moving forward, applied against individuals related to COVID-19.  

Executive Order 20-244 is effective immediately.

Pinellas County Emergency Management
Pinellas County

Pinellas County COVID-19 ordinance still in effect

  • Face coverings still required in indoor public places 
  • Bar and restaurant customers must be seated to be served

A Pinellas County ordinance put in place to facilitate safe reopenings while slowing the spread of COVID-19 remains in effect Monday, following the announcement of Phase 3 of the state’s Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step phased plan Friday. 

Executive Order 20-244, signed y Governor DeSantis, does not impact the local ordinance Pinellas County adopted, including the face covering requirement for indoor facilities and that customers be seated to be served at a bar or restaurant.

While the governor’s order suspends the collection of fines and penalties associated with COVID-19 enforced upon individuals, it does not restrict counties and municipalities from enforcing rules on businesses. 

Face Coverings

The countywide ordinance 20-14 took effect in June and remains in effect through the duration of Pinellas County’s State of Local Emergency.

The ordinance defines a face covering as a material that covers the nose and mouth and remains affixed or a face shield. A cloth face covering, or mask, may be factory-made or sewn by hand and can be improvised from clothing or other household fabric items.

  • Citizens must wear a face covering in indoor public places within Pinellas County, although the Board provided several exceptions. Among them:
    1. The County ordinance mandate cannot conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    2. The ordinance does not apply if a person is strictly adhering to social distancing and there are 10 or fewer people in the location who are also maintaining social distancing.
    3. It does not apply to governmental entities such as schools, courthouses or city halls, although those entities are encouraged to develop procedures to protect employees and the public. 
    4. If a person is under age 18, that person’s use of a face covering to comply with the ordinance is left to the discretion of that person’s parent, guardian or an accompanying adult. 
    5. Religious rituals such as various forms of singing are permitted under the ordinance provided that social distancing is strictly maintained.
    6. The ordinance does not prohibit exercising while social distancing, such as in a gym, without a face covering. 
    7. Retail employees must wear face coverings unless working in an area of the business that is not open to the customers and has social distancing measures in place. 

Pinellas County CARE Program Explands

More than 3,200 small business owners have received emergency grants since the initial Pinellas CARES program launched in May, but more help is on the way for a broad range of businesses still struggling from the impacts of COVID-19.  

Pinellas CARES is now offering expanded grant funding for Pinellas-based businesses most affected by the pandemic: generally, those that were required to shut down or whose customers were required to shut down or stop doing business.

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. 

A detailed list of all program qualifications and a link to the online application can be found at: https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/pinellascaresbusiness.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to take their time to submit a full application, including all required documentation, for the quickest response. Grant awards will be made based on complete and eligible applications, not based on how early a partial application is submitted – submitting an incomplete application will delay the review process.

The expanded Pinellas CARES business program is part of a larger series of programs funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Pinellas County Commission approved Pinellas CARES programs to support individuals, families and critical nonprofit services, and to bolster the local COVID-19 public health response.

For a full program overview, visit http://cares.pinellas.gov

Local Business Grants Overview

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

  • Sliding Scale Grants: $2,500 to $10,000 grants for businesses making between $17,000 and $3 million in gross annual revenue.
  • Health & Safety Matching Grants: up to $10,000 to assist Target Industry businesses in implementing COVID-19-related upgrades and safety precautions.
  • Business Diversity and Arts Microgrants: help impacted business owners with barriers to participation in other grant programs 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 other types of grant funding.  

Larger businesses and nonprofit organizations are not eligible for Pinellas CARES Local Business Grants. 

CARES Funds can only be used to reimburse losses caused by COVID-19 that are not paid by insurance or by another federal grant or program. These costs may include employee wages, vendors, rent or other business expenses. 

Businesses that have already applied for or received funding from local city grant programs are still eligible for this program, and businesses that apply for this program may also apply for current or future local city grants.

Pinellas CARES Overview 

Pinellas County received $170 million in federal CARES funding to address the community’s most pressing needs related to COVID-19. In addition to the business grants, Pinellas CARES supports the following programs:  

Financial Assistance for Individuals and Families: Rent, mortgage and utility assistance up to $5,000 per household for overdue bills since March 1, 2020. Applicant will be asked to sign a form attesting to job or income loss from COVID-19, that they have no more than $10,000 in cash, checking or savings, and will need to send pictures of documents verifying U.S. and county residency. To apply, text the word COVIDCARES to 898211. 

Nonprofit & Child Care Support: Nonprofits that have seen a rise in demand for services and programs due to COVID-19 can apply for assistance through the Pinellas Community Foundation, while licensed child care providers can receive a one-time grant up to $10,000 through the Early Learning Coalition.

Pinellas CARES also supports several other countywide initiatives, including: bolstering local pandemic response through increasing local capacity for testing, contact tracing, skilled nursing, personal protective equipment (PPE), community health educators, other public health measures, and workforce reemployment programs. 

The County developed the above programs based on broad public input, including an online community conversation and a survey that garnered 1,114 responses.

More Pinellas CARES program information can be found at: http://cares.pinellas.gov.

Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) website gives you three options – one that is sewn and two others that are no-sew. Click on the link https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

Quick video on how to convert a bandana into a mask using a couple of hair ties or rubber bands. Click on the link https://giphy.com/gifs/mask-facemask-no-sew-XHXb2GdNeY7TkcQwhd?fbclid=IwAR1W7KA0HtJ-cRMpPpm1FnEc_YRk8Hxb81uT-NbzykfRbC2I1lZL6HAPTOk

Stay safe!

We Wear Face Coverings