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COVID-19 for Employees

Find helpful information and resources available to workers in Sarasota County facing impacts from COVID-19.

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

  • Reemployment Assistance
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
  • JobFocus: Job and Employment Resources
  • United Way Suncoast Assistance Center
  • Bartender Emergency Assistance
  • Restaurant Workers’ COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund
  • OFW Emergency Coronavirus Affected (Tipped) Workers Fund
  • Rent and Mortgage Relief
  • Electric Assistance
  • Manufacturing Employment in Manatee/Sarasota

Reemployment Assistance

If your employment has been negatively impacted because of mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance. If you need assistance, the unemployment assistance hotline is now available seven days a week at 1-800-681-8102.

Individuals who are eligible for Reemployment Assistance may include:

  • Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency.
  • Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • Those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19

Reemployment Assistance benefits, formerly known as unemployment compensation, can be filed by printing and mailing the application or online using CONNECT. If you have never filed in Florida before, use the “File a New Claim” link to start your application and create a profile. If you have filed previously, please log in using your Social Security number and PIN. If you no longer have your PIN, select the “Forgot PIN” button to regain access to your account. On April 8th the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced a new, mobile-friendly online Reemployment Assistance application.

To comply with federal law, weeks beginning May 10, 2020, claimants will be required to return to the CONNECT system every two weeks to request their benefits or “claim their weeks.” In so doing, claimants will confirm that they are still unemployed and acknowledge that you are able and available for work. You must claim your weeks in order to receive benefits. Claimants will be able to request a benefit payment for each week available. Governor DeSantis has, however, directed to waive the work search and work registration requirements for claimants. However, answers to work search questions may still be required to process your claim in the CONNECT system but will not impact benefit payments.

Before filing, make sure you have the following information available:

  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s license or State ID number
  • Your employment for the last 18 months including for each employer: Name, address, and phone number, First and last day of work, Gross earnings (before taxes are taken out) during the listed dates
  • The reason for separation
  • FEIN (this is found on any W2 or 1099 tax forms you have received). If you don’t have the FEIN, you can use employer details off of a recent paystub.

Federal Lost Wages Assistance Program

On September 8, 2020 Governor Ron DeSantis announced the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (Department) has completed the necessary technology changes to begin paying the Federal Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program benefits to eligible Floridians. This program provides additional benefits for individuals who are eligible for Reemployment Assistance.

Florida has been approved to provide and has processed three weeks of LWA program benefits. This means the Department is providing an additional $300 per week to eligible Reemployment Assistance claimants. To be eligible for this benefit, claimants must have a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 in an approved Reemployment Assistance program and must certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The Department has updated benefit payment statuses to reflect the FPUC and LWA payments in CONNECT. To better understand a claimant’s Reemployment Assistance weekly benefit payment status, view the step by step guide here. To review the Frequently Asked Questions on the LWA program, click here.

Employer Roles

As an employer, it is required that you respond to all documents and forms electronically using Florida’s RA claims system, CONNECT, unless otherwise exempt. It is important that you respond in a timely manner in order to properly manage your reemployment tax, benefit charges and prevent RA fraud.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provides unemployment benefits to those that may not otherwise be eligible under Florida’s state Reemployment Assistance program, including independent contractors and individuals who are self-employed. Individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 and believe they may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, can visit www.FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim” to apply and be considered for PUA. Individuals who applied for the state’s Reemployment Assistance benefits on or after April 5, 2020, and were deemed ineligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits will receive additional application information from the Department. They can also visit www.FloridaJobs.org/cares-act for more information regarding these programs.

JobFocus: Job and Employment Resources

JobFocus is your source for jobs in the Manatee and Sarasota region. Employers can post their short-term and long-term employment needs. Employees can quickly sort through these opportunities and connect with employers. Also, on this page you will find links to the regions workforce organizations who can help you get back to work quickly.

United Way Suncoast Assistance Center

During these uncertain and challenging times many people are struggling to cover their basic, but most important expenses like rent, mortgage and utilities. There are networks to support people in this time of crisis and the best way to find them is through United Way’s 2-1-1, a free 24 hour, 7 day a week, year-round service that connects area residents to critical health and social service resources.

There are multiple ways to access this resource:
By phone – Dial 211
By Email – uw211help@gmail.com
By Online Chat at – https://211.gs-humanservices.org/
By Text – Text zip code to 898-211

Bartender Emergency Assistance Program

Please read through the Selection Criteria and Eligibility Requirements for the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. You do NOT need to be a USBG member to apply for a philanthropic grant. If you need assistance or have any question please contact the Foundation Staff at foundation@usbg.org.

Grants will be made in the form of lump sum distributions to the recipient, or as determined by the USBG National Charity Foundation’s Board of Directors based on the needs of the particular recipient. Each grant recipient will be required to provide USBG National Charity Foundation with documentation that the grant was used in a manner consistent with the terms of the grant.

Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund

As restaurants across the country cut hours, suspend business, and close for good, many restaurant workers will be faced with long-term loss of income. For months to come, they will need help accessing government benefits and mental health services, paying their rent, and feeding their families.

RWCF has established a Restaurant Workers COVID19 Crisis Relief Fund to:

  • Immediately direct money to organizations leading on-the-ground efforts in the restaurant community.
  • To bolster our impact investing budget to provide zero-interest loans to businesses to maintain payroll during closure or re-open once this crisis has passed.
  • To establish a relief fund for individual workers facing economic hardships or health crises as a direct result of COVID-19.

For more information please contact covidhelp@restaurantworkerscf.org.

Donate to the RWCF COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

One Fair Wage Emergency Coronavirus Affected (Tipped) Workers Support Fund

Providing free, cash assistance to restaurant workers, delivery drivers and other tipped workers and service workers who are seeing their income decline during this disaster, or aren’t able to work because of quarantines or other health concerns.

To get help, please fill out the application form and an organizer from One Fair Wage will call you to follow up within 7-10 days.

Donate to ONE FAIR WAGE Emergency Fund for Tipped and Service Workers

As restaurants across the country cut hours, suspend business, and close for good, many restaurant workers will be faced with long-term loss of income. For months to come, they will need help accessing government benefits and mental health services, paying their rent, and feeding their families.

Rent & Mortgage Relief

During these uncertain and challenging times many people are struggling to cover their basic, but most important expenses; rent and mortgage. This page is meant to be a resource and help you find the answers you are looking for.

Electric Assistance

The Salvation Army is administers a low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. This program is for electric bill assistance only.

Eligibility is based on households that have a minimum gross income at or below the federal poverty level of 150%. For example, a single individual’s annual income would have to be $19,140 or less to qualify. For a family of four, the maximum annual income is $39,300.

To be considered for this assistance program, the following is needed:

-Most recent home energy bill
-Final utility termination notice
-Proof of income (paycheck stubs or other proof that shows your current gross income)
-Photo identification
-Social Security cards of all household members
-Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residence

For more information, please contact The Salvation Army’s Electric Assistance Line: 941-556-0234

Manufacturing Employment in Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Local manufacturing employment opportunities. Your local connection to manufacturing employment in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Employers may post for free by sending a short description admin@sama-fl.com and a web address which will be linked.

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