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.

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 particularl 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 [email protected].

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 [email protected].

On This Page…

-City of Sarasota Small Business and Safety Assistance Grant Program
-SBDC Emergency Bridge Loan
-SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan
-Main Street Lending Program
-VistaPrint Small Business Recovery Grants
-Short-Time Compensation Program
-Families First Coronavirus Response Act
-Sales and Use Tax Relief
-IRS Tax Relief for Businesses and Tax-Exempt Entities
-JBF Micro-Grants for Independent Food/Beverage Businesses


City of Sarasota Small Business and Safety Assistance Grant Program

In response to the COVID-19 impact on local businesses, the City of Sarasota is preparing emergency stabilization grant applications to eligible City of Sarasota independently owned and operated small businesses, that were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic resulting from governmental orders to close or limit operations. Applications for the City of Sarasota Small Business and Safety Assistance Grant Program will be accepted starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 19,SBSA Grant Program Logo-01 as the City addresses the COVID-19 economic recovery phase. Eligible small businesses in the Sarasota city limits will be awarded up to $5,000 on a first-come, first-served basis with a maximum $2.28 million in economic development funds to be dispersed. Applications will be accepted until the allotted program funds are exhausted. Over 300 small businesses are expected to be approved for a grant. Read more.


SBDC Emergency Bridge Loan

This program is out of funds and no longer accepting applications.

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

For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, please contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network Headquarters. Email: [email protected] (preferred method of contact). Phone: Regional SBDC Office at (813)905-5800.


SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

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 [email protected].

The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

Apply Here

Ways to Connect with SBA South Florida:
Website: www.sba.gov/southflorida
Email: [email protected]


Main Street Lending Program

The Main Street Lending Program is not yet operational, however its recommended that businesses start planning now if they plan to apply. Checked out this useful guide of what businesses need to know about the program.  The Federal Reserve will buy 95% of the loan from the issuing bank. This program is to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program will operate through three facilities: the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF), the Main Street Priority Loan Facility (MSPLF), and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF). Term sheets for each facility and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) providing more information regarding eligibility and conditions can be found here.


VistaPrint Small Business Recovery Grant Program

To extend a helping hand to small businesses suffering from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – in partnership with Vistaprint and a coalition of supporting companies, foundations, and philanthropic donors – is working to provide financial relief through the Save Small Business Fund.

The Fund is providing $5,000 in short-term relief to employers across the United States. These one-time supplemental cash grants are for businesses that have between three and 20 employees and operate in an economically vulnerable community.

The grant application will go live on Monday, April 20 at 12:00 PM PT/3:00 PM ET. To learn more about the Save Small Business Fund and to apply for a grant, visit www.savesmallbusiness.com.


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. Short-Time Compensation (STC) permits pro-rated Reemployment Assistance (RA) benefits to employees whose work hours and earnings are reduced as part of a STC plan to avoid total layoff of some employees. If an employer establishes a Short-Time Compensation Plan and an employee meets the qualifications to file a reemployment assistance claim in the state of Florida, the employee will receive a partial reemployment check to supplement their reduced paycheck. Read more.

  • Employer Role
    To apply for the Short-Time Compensation Program (required for employees to submit a reemployment claim), please follow this link to the Employer Login page of CONNECT. Read more information for employers here.

    • 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 certify that they will reduce the employees normal number of weekly work hours by 10%, but no more than 40%.
    • The employees in the affected units must be identified by name and social security number.
    • 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).
    • The situation must be temporary rather than a temporary layoff.
  • Employee Role
    • 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.
    • Employees must work at least 60%, but no more than 90% of their normal work hours, to qualify for STC benefits.
  • Benefits
    • Employees are spared the hardships of full unemployment, and employers retain employees who can resume high production levels when business conditions improve.
    • Employers avoid the expense of recruiting, hiring, and training new workers when business conditions improve.
    • Affected employees may continue to work at reduced levels with an opportunity to find other employment before the expected layoff.

 

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, [email protected]. For more information or to sign up for email updates from the Department of Revenue, visit floridarevenue.com.


IRS Tax Relief for Businesses and Tax-Exempt Entities

Get information on coronavirus (COVID-19) tax relief for businesses and tax-exempt entities like:

  • Filing and Payment Deadline Extended
  • Employee Retention Credit
  • Coronavirus-Related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small- and Mid-Size Businesses
  • Online Tax Help
  • Online resources for tax exempt and other entities

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.

How Can We Help?

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

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