Reopening Sarasota County

As we begin the process of economic recovery, business leaders have a lot to consider.

Warning Poster for Business Entrances

Download and print a free poster for your business entrance by the Society for Human Resources Management.

Center for Disease Control

Guidance for cleaning and disinfecting - whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home.

The COVID-19 Pandemic brought the world to a stand-still and many businesses stopped or greatly altered their operations. Whether your business changed operations or it navigated the pandemic without disruptions, we should all anticipate a new normal in our daily operations. Social distancing, sanitation, supply chain challenges and planning for the possibilities of future disruptions…. Let’s get back to business safely and successfully.

To see updates from Sarasota County government check out their dedicated COVID-19 webpage. Here, you will find resources for residents and businesses, including links to city government resources, the Health Department, schools, county services, food resources and more. Additionally, the State of Florida’s Official Business Information Portal can be found at Open My Florida Business. Here, you will find links to Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Orders related to COVID-19, business assistance and industry specific information. For information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at

Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery

The Re-Open Florida Task Force has developed a comprehensive roadmap for re-opening the state in four phases. This report will help you understand those stages and the things you need to consider as the state gets back to business. For updates visit the Florida COVID-19 Response: Plan for Florida’s Recovery.

Phase 3: Effective September 25

Phase 3; Right to Work; Business Certainty; Suspension of Fines. Read the full Executive Order 20-44 here.

Social Gatherings: Non-vulnerable populations should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments.

Travel: Non-essential travel may continue. Employees should resume non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.

Telework: Employees should resume unrestricted staffng of worksites and implement the final phasing in of employees returning to work. For vulnerable populations, teleworking can be considered.

Employee Screening: Employers should take prudent and practical measures to ensure employees do not enter the premises if they believe they are infected with COVID-19 or show symptoms of influenza like illness.

Restaurants: Restaurants and food service establishments may operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols. Businesses should maintain adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons during all hours of operation. Menus, if laminated, should continue to be cleaned after each usage. Paper menus shall be designed for single use and then disposed of immediately after use.

Bars, Pubs and Nightclubs: Bars, pubs, and nightclubs that derive more than 50 percent of sales from alcohol should operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols. Businesses should maintain adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons during all hours of operation. Menus, if laminated, should be cleaned after each usage. Paper menus should be designed for single use and then disposed of immediately after use.

Personal Services: Personal Services Businesses, such as cosmetology salons, barber shops and nail salons, should operate under full capacity but should consider the following mitigation measures: Continue to maintain adequate sanitation practices for employees and patrons. Remove all unnecessary, frequent-touch items such as magazines, newspapers, service menus, any other unnecessary paper products and décor from customer service areas.

Retail: Operators of retail businesses should operate at full capacity but should continue to maintain adequate sanitation practices for employees and patrons.

Gyms: Gyms and fitness centers should open to full capacity but should maintain adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons during all hours of operation.

• State Parks: State parks should be fully opened, including overnight accommodations.
• Public Beaches: Beaches should remain fully opened.
• Large Venues: (i.e. movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, bowling alleys, arcades, playhouses, casinos) These venues should re-open fully with limited social distancing protocols.

Vacation Rentals: Vacation Rentals should resume normal operating procedures but should continue to thoroughly clean and disinfect the property between rentals.

Read more about Phase 3 Reopening

Opening Up America Again

The President has published  Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach to re-opening. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.

US Dept of Labor General Guidance for All Workers and Employers

Measures for protecting workers from exposure to, and infection with, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), depend on the type of work being performed and exposure risk, including potential for interaction with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and contamination of the work environment. Employers should adapt infection control strategies based on a thorough hazard assessment, using appropriate combinations of engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent worker exposures. Read more.

OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed this COVID-19 planning guidance based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so. Employers and workers should use this planning guidance to help identify risk levels in workplace settings and to determine any appropriate control measures to implement. See more at

In addition to the general guidance above, OSHA frequently issues specific guidance tailored to specific industries.  To date, OSHA has released specific guidance for the following industries:

COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings

Workers in office buildings may be at risk for exposure to the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Office building employers, building owners and managers, and building operations specialists can take steps to create a safe and healthy workplace and protect workers and clients. Read more.

For all workers, regardless of specific exposure risks, it is always a good practice to:
  •  Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands that are visibly soiled.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice good respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if sick.
  • Recognize personal risk factors. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), certain people, including older adults and those with underlying conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

This interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. Updates as of March 21, 2020: Updated cleaning and disinfection guidance, Updated best practices for conducting social distancing, Updated strategies and recommendations that can be implemented now to respond to COVID-19.

Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting

The Center for Disease Control hosts guidance for all Americans, whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home. Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. This plan is part of the larger United States Government plan and focuses on cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and can also be applied to your home. Also, find the EPA Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2. All products on this list meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Find more information at the CDC’s General Business Frequently Asked Questions.

Guidance Standards for Hospitality Reopening

Developed by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association in partnership with the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, this helpful document outlines the initial opening/operating guidance for the food and hotel industry as defined by the federal government and applied by state and local jurisdictions. Including food safety, cleaning and sanitizing, monitoring employee health, social distancing and basic infection prevention measures. Find more resources at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association website.

Streamlined Approval for Outdoor Dining and Retail Display

Consistent with social distancing requirements and to assist in the reopening and economic recovery of local businesses, Sarasota County’s Planning and Development Services Department is implementing streamlined administrative procedures for Temporary Use and Tent Permits for restaurants conducting outdoor dining and outdoor display at retail businesses. Any restaurant or retail business planning to conduct outdoor services can obtain an Outdoor Dining and Retail Display Temporary Use and Tent Permit Approval Packet here. Email the packet to [email protected] for electronic approval that includes standard provisions to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers. This approval will be processed within 24 hours.

Pursuant to Resolution No. 2020-101 adopted by the County Commission on May 6, 2020, the fees for the Outdoor Dining and Retail Temporary Use and Tent Permit have been temporary suspended. The Resolution also temporarily suspends Building Permit fees and after-the-fact fees for improvements made as a direct result of COVID-19 to promote health, safety and welfare for businesses reopening.

Guidance for Retailers on Reopening Stores

Operation Open Doors – Path to Reopen Retail, led by National Retail Federation and Seyfarth LLP, is providing guidance and tools that NRF members can use as they navigate opening stores after this international health crisis. Areas for guidance on gradual reopenings include logistics, social distancing and safety issues, and how to bring employees back to the workforce. Explore the Operation Open Doors Checklist, an outline of key topics to consider as retailers seek to reopen operations.

Association for Manufacturing Excellence

As businesses begin to reopen and revive, here are 12 actions and choices that might increase their chances of future success: 12 vital actions to get your business restarted right.

Spa Reopening Toolkit

The International SPA Association has developed resources in partnership with countless spa leaders across the globe including reopening checklists, as well as sanitation and hygiene standards. Learn more.

Film Florida

The health and safety of Floridians on production sets is a top priority of Film Florida. Here are suggestions to help ensure clean and healthy sets. Film Florida encourages individuals to take personal responsibility and take an active role in maintaining a clean and healthy set.

Quick Links

Here are some links that we love and think you will, too

Download & print posters for your business entrance

One-On-One Business Resources

Small Business Development Center

To assist Sarasota County businesses during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic, the local office of The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at University of South Florida offers NO-COST confidential consulting to help you make informed business decisions. From business planning to marketing consultation to financial analysis, the professionally credentialed consultants have the real-world experience to help your business recover. To meet with a SBDC representative, please register or visit

GrowFL Expert Connect

Small business owners can connect with an expert. Schedule a free 30-minute appointment with one of GrowFL Experts. These are our GrowFL Corporate Partners and a trusted resource to you on a variety of topic including sales, manufacturing, HR, marketing, growth and more. To schedule a 30-minute call, visit the Expert Page and click on the calendar at the bottom.

SCORE Real Time Mentoring

SCORE stands ready to provide personalized advice for all your business questions. Register now and get access to experienced business mentors that can provide information and advice across business topics and industries. Get immediate answers to your most pressing questions. You can also participate in peer discussions to connect with other small business owners and experts.


Warning Poster for Business Entrances

Download and print a free poster for your business entrance by the Society for Human Resources Management.

Center for Disease Control

Guidance for cleaning and disinfecting - whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home.

Recommended for you

Small Business Relief Grant Program
Read more
COVID-19 for Employees
Read more
COVID-19 for Employers
Read more

Chairman’s Advisors

CareerSource Suncoast
Wells Fargo
University of South Florida
Gulf Coast Community Foundation
FCCI Insurance Group
Sarasota Bradenton International
Sarasota Memorial Hospital
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
Sarasota magazine
Teco Peoples Gas