Reopening Sarasota County

As parts of Florida's economy begin to reopen and we begin the process of economic recovery, business leaders have a lot to consider.

Re-Entry Planning

The re-entry of operations is based on staging or phasing operations from current operations as part of a declaration of emergency to a “new” normal by Sarasota County Government.

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.

Full Phase 1 Effective May 18:

Full Phase 1

Effective May 4th, Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order Number 20-112 outlined the first phase of re-opening Florida and it was updated May 11, 14 and 15, 2020.

  • Bars, pubs and nightclubs that derive more than 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages shall continue to suspend the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
  • Restaurants and food establishments licensed under Chapters 500 or 509, Florida Statutes, may allow on-premises consumption of food and beverage, so long as they adopt appropriate social distancing measures and limit their indoor occupancy to no more than 50 percent of their building occupancy. In addition, outdoor seating is permissible with appropriate social distancing. Appropriate social distancing requires maintaining a minimum of 6 feet between parties, only seating parties of 10 or fewer people and keeping bar counters closed to seating.
    (FLRA FAQ regarding Phase 1)
  • Counties submit re-opening plan to the State for vacation rentals.
  • The Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall utilize its authorities under Florida law to implement and enforce the provisions of this order as appropriate.
  • In-store retail sales establishments may open storefronts if they operate at no more than 50 percent of their building occupancy and abide by the safety guidelines issued by the CDC and OSHA
  • Museums and libraries may operate up to 50% capacity if permitted by local governments.
  • Gyms and fitness centers may operate up to 50% capacity and shall utilize social distancing and individuals self-sanitize machines and surfaces after use
  • Professional sports teams are welcome in Florida and venues may open and operate for games, events, competitions and training.
  • Amusement parks may submit re-opening plan to the State which must include endorsement letter from the County Mayor (or City Mayor and County Administrator if no County Mayor)
  • Elective procedures  may resume. A hospital ambulatory surgical center, office surgery center, dental office, orthodontic office, endodontic office or other health care practitioners’ office in the State of Florida may perform procedures prohibited by Executive Order 20-72 only if:
    • The facility has the capacity to immediately convert additional facility-identified surgical and intensive care beds for treatment of COVID-19 patients in a surge capacity situation;
    • The facility has adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to complete all medical procedures and respond to COVID-19 treatment needs, without the facility seeking any additional federal or state assistance regarding PPE supplies;
    • The facility has not sought any additional federal, state, or local government assistance regarding PPE supplies since resuming elective procedures; and
    • The facility has not refused to provide support to and proactively engage with skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and other long-term care residential providers

The following restrictions are mandatory for barbershops, cosmetology salons, and cosmetology specialty salons:

  • All customers will be by appointment only.
  • Allow at least 15 minutes between the conclusion of an appointment and the beginning of the next appointment for proper disinfecting practices.
  • No group appointments are permitted.
  • Masks must be worn by all employees while performing personal services.

Barbershops, cosmetology salons, and cosmetology specialty salons are encouraged to adhere to the following guidance:

  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect prior to reopening. Make sure to disinfect all surfaces, tools and linens, even if they were cleaned before you originally closed. This type of cleaning should continue between each day of operation.
  • Consider providing unworn masks to clients for use during their appointment.
  • Remove all unnecessary, frequently touched items like magazines, newspapers, service menus and any other unnecessary paper products and décor from customer service areas.

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

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

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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.


Re-Entry Planning

The re-entry of operations is based on staging or phasing operations from current operations as part of a declaration of emergency to a “new” normal by Sarasota County Government.

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.

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Chairman’s Advisors

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Sarasota magazine
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