COVID-19 for Employers

Find helpful information and resources available for Sarasota County employers to address COVID-19 challenges.

EDC Employers
Paycheck Protection Program

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has produced a helpful Small Business Guide and Checklist to help you understand the new loan programs under the CARES Act.

SBDC Bridge or SBA Disaster Loan?

These two loan programs are very different. Which one is right for you? Should you apply to both? This document will help you understand the specifics of each program.

How Can We Help?

Contact Destin Wells, VP of Business Development, to see how we can help you thrive in Sarasota County.

This page is for informational purposes only. This page does not imply endorsement of any particularly program/organization. We will update the information often, but because the situation is quickly evolving some of this information may have changed. To provide feedback please email info@edcsarasotacounty.com.

For COVID-19 text updates from Sarasota County Government, text SRQCOVID19 to 888777. Visit this link for the most up-to-date announcements from the Sarasota County Government. The Sarasota Health Department has established a COVID-19 call center for Sarasota County residents who believe they may have Coronavirus (COVID-19). The number is 941-861-2883. Subject-matter experts are on duty 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 statewide, please visit the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage. The Florida Department of Health hosts a new COVID-19 Case Dashboard. To keep Florida residents and visitors safe, informed and aware about the status of the virus, this dashboard will be updated twice daily. For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the state’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

On This Page…

-CARES Act Update
-SBDC Emergency Bridge Loan
-SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan
-Short Time Compensation
-Families First Coronavirus Response Act
-Sales and Use Tax Relief
-JBF Micro-Grants for Independent Food/Beverage Businesses


CARES Act Update

The largest stiminulus bill in history. It will affect almost every American. The program below are intended to help business owners as they navigate these unprecedented times.

It will take a little time for the programs to be implemented. Keep checking the EDC website for updates. There will be many new resources available for small busineses, certain non-profits and other employees.

Download the Small Business Association’s Guide to the CARES Act

Paycheck Protection Act


This program would provide cash-flow assistance through 100% federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. The government will authorize certain lenders to facilitate these loans. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers remain employed, as well as help affected small businesses and our economy snap-back quicker after the crisis. PPP has a host of attractive features, such as forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels, no SBA fees, and at least six months of deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year. Small businesses and other eligible entities will be able to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. This program would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls .Loans are available through June 30, 2020. In general 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(19) non-profits with 500 employees or fewer qualify. Individuals who operate a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor and eligible self-employed individuals. Any business concern that employs not more than 500 employees per physical location of the business concern and that is assigned a NAICS code beginning with 72, for which the affiliation rules are waived. Affiliation rules are also waived for any business concern operating as a franchise that is assigned a franchise identifier code by the Administration, and company that receives funding through a Small Business Investment Company

The Act provides for:

  • $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants through community banks to small businesses and non-profits to maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities. The loans would be available during an emergency period  ending June 30, and would be forgiven if the employer continued to pay workers for the duration of the crisis.
  • $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.
  • $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.

The section 7(a) grants are the bulk of the funding and are the vehicle for forgivable loans, so a deeper dive on that:

  • Establishes the maximum 7(a) loan amount to $10 million through December 31, 2020 and provides a formula by which the loan amount is tied to payroll costs incurred by the business to determine the size of the loan.
  • Specifies allowable uses of the loan include payroll support, such as employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, and mortgage, rent, and utility payments.
  • Increases the government guarantee of 7(a) loans to 100 percent through December 31, 2020, at which point guarantee percentages will return to 75 percent for loans exceeding $150,000 and 85 percent for loans equal to or less than $150,000.
  • Allows complete deferment of 7(a) loan payments for at least six months and not more than a year, and requires SBA to disseminate guidance to lenders on this deferment process within 30 days.
  • Requires the SBA to provide a lender with a process fee for servicing the loan. Sets lender compensation fees at five percent for loans of not more than $350,000; three percent for loans of more than $350,000 and less than $2,000,000; and one percent for loans of not less than $2,000,000.

And specific to loan forgiveness, Section 1106:

  • Establishes that the borrower shall be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount spent by the borrower during an 8-week period after the origination date of the loan on payroll costs, interest payment on any mortgage incurred prior to February 15, 2020, payment of rent on any lease in force prior to February 15, 2020, and payment on any utility for which service began before February 15, 2020.
  • Amounts forgiven may not exceed the principal amount of the loan. Eligible payroll costs do not include compensation above $100,000 in wages. Forgiveness on a covered loan is equal to the sum of the following payroll costs incurred during the covered 8 week period compared to the previous year or time period, proportionate to maintaining employees and wages:
  • Payroll costs plus any payment of interest on any covered mortgage obligation (which shall not include any prepayment of or payment of principal on a covered mortgage obligation) plus any payment on any covered rent obligation and any covered utility payment.
  • The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees retained compared to the prior year and reduced by the reduction in pay of any employee beyond 25 percent of their prior year compensation. To encourage employers to rehire any employees who have already been laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis, borrowers that re-hire workers previously laid off will not be penalized for having a reduced payroll at the beginning of the period.
  • Allows forgiveness for additional wages paid to tipped workers.
  • Borrowers will verify through documentation to lenders their payments during the period. Lenders that receive the required documentation will not be subject to an enforcement action or penalties by the Administrator relating to loan forgiveness for eligible uses.
  • Upon a lender’s report of an expected loan forgiveness amount for a loan or pool of loans, the SBA will purchase such amount of the loan from the lender.
  • Canceled indebtedness resulting from this section will not be included in the borrower’s taxable income.
  • Any loan amounts not forgiven at the end of one year is carried forward as an ongoing loan with terms of a max of 10 years, at max 4% interest. The 100% loan guarantee remains intact.

Additional Provisions by the CARES Act

  • Americans making less than $75,000 will receice a one-time direct deposit of $1,200, plus an addioal $500 per child. Married couples making less than $150,000 will get $2,400.
  • Allows individuals to delay the payment of their 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022.
  • Waived 10% early withdrawal penalty for retirement distributions up to $100,000 retroactive to Jan 1st.
  • Expands eligibility of unemployment benefits and offers workers an additional $600 per week for four months, in addition to the state program. This applies to the self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers.
  • Over $140 billion in appropriations to support the US health care system and provided needed supplies, $100 billion will be given directly to hospitals.
  • Makes COVID-19 tests free for all
  • $500 billion will provide loans, loan guarantees, and other investments to large corporations. These will not exceed 5 years and cannot be forgiven. Airlines will receive $50 billion and $8 billion for cargo carriers.
  • States and local governments will get $150 billion.
  • Increase the amount the Agriculture Department can spend on its bailout program from $30 billion to $50 billion.

Read the full bill

Summary Document


SBDC Emergency Bridge Loan

Submitting your application options:
1) Online application: Here
2) Download an application, complete it and mail it with the required supporting documentation to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) at: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, C/O Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan, 107 E. Madison Street, MSC-160, Tallahassee FL 32399-4120.
*In light of concerns surrounding COVID-19 all in-person SBDC activity has been suspended

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is short-term, interest-free working capital loans thats 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.

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is not designed to be the primary source of assistance to affected small businesses, which is why eligibility is linked pursuit to other financial sources. Note: Loans made under this program are short-term debt loans made by the state of Florida using public funds – they are not grants. Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans require repayment by the approved applicant from longer term financial resources.

For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, please contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network Headquarters. Email: USF@floridasbdc.org (preffered method of contact). Phone: Regional SBDC Office at (813)905-5800.

  • Eligibility
    • Be a for-profit, privately held small business that maintains a place of business in the state of Florida.
    • A small business with 2 to 100 employees.
    • Be established prior to March 9, 2020
    • Be able to demonstrate economic injury as a result of the designated disaster. The need for the loan and use of proceeds must be directly related to the economic injury caused by the designated disaster.
    • Loans will be made to individuals who, individually or collectively, own at least 51% of the equity of the business.
    • A borrower will be required to sign an agreement that the proceeds of the loan will be used only for purposes of maintaining or restarting the business in the designated area. Use of proceeds to pay off debts already incurred for qualifying business maintenance or restart purposes may be authorized on a case-by-case basis.
    • A borrower will be required to certify that the proceeds of insurance claims, other loans applied for or to be applied for, or other financial assistance will be used to repay the loan.
  • Required Application Documents
    • Business Tax Statements (Previous Two Years; if unavailable, provide an explanation)
    • Employer Tax Statements (e.g. IRS Forms 941, W-3, W-2s, 1099-MICSs)
    • Personal Income Tax Returns for Each Applicant (Previous Two Years)

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

Apply Here
If you have trouble submitting your information online click here

The SBA provides 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. Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. Loans have long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. For additional information, please contact the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center: 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The U.S. Small Business Administration South Florida District Office will host virtual office hours to answer questions about the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. In addition to the virtual office hours, the District Office will also be hosting webinars twice daily to help small businesses navigate the disaster loan application. 
Virtual Office Hours:
Monday, March 23 – Friday, April 04
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
• Limited to 250 callers at one time.
• Participants may call at anytime and are welcome to enter and exit at will.
• Callers will be muted upon entry and will be taken in the order they are received.
How to Participate:
Join by phone
(202) 765-1264; Conference ID – 162817288

FL DEO Short Time Compensation Program

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.

Short Time Compensation Program

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.

 


Families First Coronavirus Act

This new law takes effect April 2, 2020. It requires employers with up to 500 employees to provide paid sick leave and paid family leave while also providing a refundable payroll tax credit to employers to cover 100% of the cost of wages. Read the full act here.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published its first round of implementation guidance pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The guidance addresses critical questions such as:
How does an employer count its number of employees to determine coverage?
How can small businesses obtain an exemption?
How does an employer count hours for part-time employees?
How does an employer calculate wages employees are entitled to under the FFCRA?

Read more…

Employer Paid Leave Requirements

Employee Paid Leave Rights


Sales and Tax Relief

On Monday, March 16, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis directed the Department of Revenue (Department) to provide flexibility on tax due dates, such as sales tax, to assist those adversely affected by COVID-19. Sales and use tax, as well as other related tax returns and payments, are normally due on the first day of the month and are late after the twentieth day of the month. Order of Emergency Waiver/Deviation #20-52-DOR-002 outlines:

  •  Taxpayers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19, have an extended due date to April 30, 2020, for sales and use tax, as well as other related taxes, collected in March.
  • Taxpayers who have not been adversely affected by COVID-19 continue to file and remit taxes no later than the normal due date of April 20.
  • Taxpayers who were unable to meet the March 20 due date will have penalty and interest waived for taxes collected in February if the taxes are reported and remitted by March 31, 2020.

Adversely affected taxpayer means:

  • The business closed in compliance with a state or local government order and had no taxable sales transactions as a result; or
  •  The business experienced sales tax collections in March 2020 that are less than 75% of March 2019 sales tax collections; or
  • The business was established after March 2019; or
  • The business is registered with the Department to file quarterly.

For taxpayers who have additional questions, the Department has established a dedicated team to address tax-related issues pertaining to COVID-19 and created an email address, COVID19TAXHELP@floridarevenue.com. For more information or to sign up for email updates from the Department of Revenue, visit floridarevenue.com.


JBF Micro-Grants for Independent Food/Beverage Businesses

To help bring swift economic relief to these essential businesses, the Foundation launched a fund that will be gathering support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to provide micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need. If you are inquiring about criteria in the application process for the JBF Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund, please submit your information through this form. Application materials are being created at this time and more information will be sent out when it is ready.

Donate to the grant fund here

Paycheck Protection Program

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has produced a helpful Small Business Guide and Checklist to help you understand the new loan programs under the CARES Act.

SBDC Bridge or SBA Disaster Loan?

These two loan programs are very different. Which one is right for you? Should you apply to both? This document will help you understand the specifics of each program.

How Can We Help?

Contact Destin Wells, VP of Business Development, to see how we can help you thrive in Sarasota County.

Recommended for you

article
COVID-19 Key Links
Read more
article
COVID-19 for Employees
Read more
article
Small Business Resources
Read more

Chairman’s Advisors

CareerSource Suncoast
Wells Fargo
University of South Florida
Gulf Coast Community Foundation
FCCI Insurance Group
Sarasota Bradenton International
Suntrust
S-one1
Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Schumaker
Schroeder Manatee Ranch
Ringling College
Premiero Community Bank
PNC Bank
PGT Innovations
Michael Saunders & Company
Lakewood Ranch Commercial
Herald Tribune
Florida Power & Electric
Comcast Business
CenterState Bank
Benderson Development
Bank of Tampa
Coldwell Banker
Baltimore Orioles
Onideas
Sarasota magazine
CareerEdge
Teco Peoples Gas