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.

June 26th Emergency Order


On April 29, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 20-112 initiating Phase l of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery. On June 3, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 20-139 initiating Phase 2 of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery for 64 counties. Under Phase 2, bars and other vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises were given permission to operate at fifty (50) percent of their indoor capacity, so long as they provided seated service only.

The order states, all vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for  consumption on the premises who derive more than 50% of gross revenue from such sales of alcoholic beverages shall suspend such sales of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises. Such vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the  premises  in accordance with Executive Order 20-7 I , Sections I and 2.

Vendors who are also licensed as public food service establishments or “restaurants” under Chapter 509, Florida Statutes, may continue to operate for on-premises consumption of food and beverages at tables pursuant to the restrictions in Executive Order 20-139, so long as these vendors derive 50%  or less of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

Phase 2: Effective June 5th

On June 3rd Govenor DeSantis signed Executive Order number 20-139.

Social Gatherings: All individuals should continue to maximize physical distance from others in public, particularly in enclosed environments. Individuals should avoid socializing in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate social distancing of at least 6 feet.

Travel: Individuals may resume non-essential travel. Employers should minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.

Telework: All employers should continue to encourage teleworking where practical. Employers should begin implementing plans for employees to return to work in phases.

Employee Screening: All employers should screen employees before entering the premises for symptoms of COVID-19 or influenza like illness and where practical, take the temperature of each employee.

Restaurants: Capacity will remain at 50%. Groups should be limited to 10 people or fewer and indoor waiting areas should be limited. Restaurants can now begin sitting patrons at the bar area. Reservations and call-ahead service will be encouraged over walk-ins and outdoor seating should remain a priority. Employees should undergo health screenings and masks should be suggested. Menus and other common surfaces should be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Cafeteria-style dining arrangements should be avoided. Businesses should continue to screen employees before work and consider requiring employees to wear face masks or face coverings while inside or within close proximity to members of the public.

Personal Services: Tattoo shops, massage parlors, tanning salons, and other personal services business may reopen within the guidance of the Florida Department of Health. Equipment should be regularly cleaned and disinfected, everyone should wear masks and certain items like magazines and newspapers should be removed from customer service areas.

Retail: Businesses can operate at full capacity. Signage should be posted to direct the flow of traffic and promote social distancing. Surfaces and commonly touched items should be regularly cleaned and disinfected.

Gyms: May operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and frequent sanitization.

Entertainment Venues: Movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, bowling alleys, arcades, playhouses, and casinos, can reopen at 50% capacity and with strict social distancing protocols. Parties cannot exceed 10.

Large Spectator Sporting Events: Limit venue occupancy to 50% withstrict social distancing.


  • Public beaches will be fully open.
  • State parks will be open during the day but overnight accommodations will remain closed. Large activities and events are not permitted.
  • Local government meetings can resume with no more than 50 people in attendance.

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.

Vacation Rentals

Sarasota County Plan to Reopen Vacation Rentals: To allow vacation rental reservations and the acceptance of arriving guests in Sarasota County beginning on May 22, 2020, the following plan will be implemented. Read the full document (updated June 2020).

Read the Recomendations for Property Owners

  • Reservations will not be permitted, nor new guests accepted for check-in from areas identified as high-risk; reservations made prior to an area being designated as such, can be honored.
  • Reservations from areas identified by Florida’s Governor as COVID-19 hot spots through Executive Orders are to be avoided for the next 45 days.
  • Reservations from international travelers will not be accepted.
  • The reservation and check in/check out process, communications with guests and the acceptance of payments should be done electronically to minimize direct guest contact.
  • All Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation requirements and recommended safety measures related to vacation rentals should be followed, these may be updated from time to time.
  • Property owners and Managers must provide CDC resources to any guest while staying on property.
  • Property owners and Managers must provide CDC Guidance to guests traveling with pets and service/assistance animals if the property is pet friendly.
  • Property owners and Managers must provide guests with Sarasota County local COVID-19 information from the dedicated webpage on
  • Property owners and Managers will provide employees or contractors working in short-term rentals the CDC related safety guidance to alleviate the transmission of the virus and provide further protection for employees and guests.
  • All Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) sanitation guidelines must be followed: 61C-001 Sanitation and Safety Requirements of the transient lodging statutes.
  • Maintain adequate time between the conclusion of a guest stay and the check-in of the next guest stay for appropriate cleaning and sanitation.
  • To inform guests signage will be placed at each property highlighting the cleaning protocols between stays.

Follow this link to Sarasota County and Visit Sarasota County’s Recommendations for Property Owners and Managers

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

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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.

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.


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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