The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released several guidelines to assist businesses in making re-opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. While these guidelines are helpful, the CDC cautions that it is important to check with state and local health officials and other partner agencies to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.
Linked below are two CDC guidelines intended to assist employers and businesses in making decisions regarding re-opening. For more information and guidelines visit the CDC Coronavirus webpage.
- Guidelines for employers re-opening of workplaces, such as offices; and
- Guidelines for businesses in the food service industry, such as restaurants and bars
It is also important to note that the St. Johns County Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program launched this week. In an effort to assist with economic recovery, the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program will provide emergency funding to local businesses. The goal of the grant program is to help offset the temporary loss of revenue and help keep small businesses open during and after this global pandemic.
We encourage St. Johns County businesses to apply to the program for emergency grant funding up to $5,000.
From the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.
For more information, email [email protected] or call 904.209.6050.
Locations available for St. Johns County Residents
COVID-19 testing sites are open in NE Florida and available for St. Johns County residents. For detailed information about hours of operation and requirements, please visit www.sjcfl.us/coronavirus.
New testing sites include:
- The Med One Urgent Care- St. Augustine, 841 S Ponce De Leon Blvd Suite 4, St. Augustine, FL 32084. Open to the public from 9:00am to 7:00pm, Monday through Friday, and from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Saturday and Sunday. For additional information, please call 904.436.1553 or visit their website.
- St. Augustine - 2095 US Highway 1 S, Saint Augustine, FL 32086 - 904.429.0001
- Nocatee - 151 Pine Lake Dr Ste B, Ponte Vedra, FL 32081 - 904.543.3677
- Durbin Park, 70 Durbin Pavilion Dr Ste 101, Saint Johns, FL 32259 - 904.295.0038
All sites are open to the public 7 days a week 8:00am - 8:00pm as COVID-19 collection site. For more information, call the location you are interested in visiting.
OSHA has issued guidelines for Covid 19. I have attached copies of the OSHA guidelines in both English and Spanish. The site can be reached at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/ I would encourage your businesses to check the site regularly for updates.
FRA has created a website with additional resources: www.redevelopment.net We have been invited to refer to the website as needed.
National Small Business Town Hall
Neil Bradley shared a summary of CARES Act assistance available to small businesses. This summary can be found here
The National Restaurant Association released new guidance for reopening restaurants, which provides a basic summary of recommended practices that can be used to help mitigate exposure to the COVID-19 virus. The document is meant to be used in conjunction with instruction operators receive from authorities during their reopening phase-in.
The guidance focuses on food safety, cleaning and sanitizing, employee health monitoring and personal hygiene, and social distancing. Each section includes a list of actionable items an operation should consider as it evaluates its safety procedures.
It builds on already established best practices and available requirements that address specific health and safety concerns related to the spread of COVID-19. Included in the document are highlights of the recently released Food and Drug Administration's "Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic."
The House Passes Additional PPP Funding to be signed April 24, 2020
- We are committed to working with our local businesses who are dealing with the closures and restrictions based on the Governor's Executive Orders.
- The construction of the Hyatt and the Holiday Inn continues and according to their management, the Hyatt project is bringing in a large crane soon to build the upper floors.
We can look forward to when the hotels open and we are all getting together again, going to the public spaces planned for both hotels, including restaurants.
- In February and March we met with St. Johns County departments in an effort to enhance our streetscape in the Town Center. The Town Center public benches and garbage cans have been rearranged and pressure washed and several at the Pavilions have been refurbished. This project was in preparation for the summer, as well as a Southeastern Trails Conference Tour of Vilano Beach and a Florida Main Street Conference meeting in Vilano Beach, both scheduled for April but consequently changed to Virtual Meetings. Vilano Beach Main Street has been selected as the Florida Main Street Program of the month for April.
- We are working with the County in making landscaping improvements along Vilano Road. We hope these improvements will be completed prior to the summer season.
- We are working, by phone and email, with the FDOT and the County regarding the feasibility study for the East Coast Greenway Trail proposed from Vilano Beach to St. Augustine to the south and Ponte Vedra to the north, regarding the placement of the Trail. We have requested that prior to the completion of this feasibility study public meetings, when allowed, be held to make sure that the community has input regarding placement of the Trail.
- We have expressed to our local Publix management and to Regional Publix Corporate Management the community's sincere gratitude and appreciation for all that our Publix grocery and pharmacy personnel are doing to help us through these trying times. Main Street worked many years to accomplish the community's main redevelopment goal of bringing Publix to Vilano Beach because we knew it would be a well-deserved convenience for all of us -- and now it has become a major part of our personal survival and we are so thankful to have them in our Town Center.
From the St. Johns County Roundtable
Do You Know A Small Business?
Most, if not all small businesses are struggling. They are the backbone of our community and our economy.
Here is a great guide that breaks down the different programs in a very clear, easy to read and understand format.
Please pass this along to any small business that you know -- just as an FYI.
Tell them that we need them and their employees! Together we will get through this!
From St Johns County Chamber of Commerce
Questions on CARES Act and PPP Answered
All Florida Executive Orders
Messages from FRLA
National Main Street
Leading through Crisis Webinar
This is information just received from DEO concerning bridge loan applications. The system and individuals are overwhelmed, and are working extended hours, seven days a week. Access by phone is difficult. It is suggested that potential applicants interact with them via the email platform. It may take three or four days to get a response, but they will be in the que. Please note, if an application has been submitted via the portal, please do NOT submit again.
Not for profits need to utilize the SBA Disaster Loan program at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/EIDLLoans
Florida small businesses may apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan COVID-19 through May 8, 2020 at the following site only: http://floridajobs.org/rebuildflorida/businessrecovery .
If you have already submitted your application by mail or email, there is no need to submit again at this portal. It will cause a duplicate record and may cause delays in processing your application. These previously submitted applications are already in the processing pipeline.
Important Application notes:
- Complete the application on a desktop or laptop computer, not a mobile phone.
- Only use the Chrome browser to complete the application. Other browsers will not be supported.
- Read ALL instructions before beginning the application, including Eligibility and Required Documents. This will answer a number of questions you may have as you are completing the application.
- Do not hit “Submit for Approval” until the application and all attachments are complete. Once submitted, you will not be able to make changes to your application.
- Keep a written record of your Project ID Number (shown as PID-number), as well as the date and time of your application. This is how you will be able to check on the status of your application, or to ask questions.
- Your will be contacted by email once the application has been processed.
From First Coast Accounting - St. Augustine
We are currently being inundated with information. Tax credits, loans, stimulus checks, what are we to believe? In an attempt to provide our community with reliable information we have assembled the following list of credible resources for individuals and businesses.
We have all heard our government is planning to issue stimulus checks to us all. We have seen numbers reported by our News channels. Please be aware, as of this morning this has not been voted on by Congress. Nothing is guaranteed until Congress gives their stamp of approval. We are being told this vote has been postponed until tomorrow, again!
At this time individuals who have lost their job should visit https://connect.myflorida.com/ to apply for unemployment compensation.
Another source of relief comes from the Treasury department extending the filing and payment deadline to July 15, 2020. Individuals are being given an additional 90 days to file and pay any amount due with out penalty or interest. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-day-now-july-15-treasury-irs-extend-filing-deadline-and-federal-tax-payments-regardless-of-amount-owed
For Businesses with fewer than 500 employees who have had to close, have employees who are quarantined or infected by Covid-19. The treasury plans to allow tax credits and possibly refunds for the wages paid against payroll tax liabilities for those businesses who continue to pay their employees while on furlough. We are awaiting instructions as to how this will be handled. For complete details,Go to: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/treasury-irs-and-labor-announce-plan-to-implement-coronavirus-related-paid-leave-for-workers-and-tax-credits-for-small-and-midsize-businesses-to-swiftly-recover-the-cost-of-providing-coronavirus
At this time we have not been given any information regarding extending the filing or payment deadline for Payroll Tax. We are planning to file payroll tax returns April 30th as usual.
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19. Loans will be interest-free for the loan term (1 year). The Interest rate will be 12% per annum on the unpaid balance thereafter, until the loan balance is repaid in full. Go to floridadisasterloan.org for details.
The SBA is also offering express loans to those who qualify. https://www.sba.gov/coronavirus
The best source of information for closures and alerts please visit www.co.st-johns.fl.us
We will send out more information as we learn more to help Small business or Individuals as it becomes available. Congress is expected to vote tomorrow on the package, that will give us more information on the Stimulus Checks, Tax Credits, and More. Remember until it's law, it can and will likely change.
Webinar: "Grocery To Go" Concept
Thursday, March 26th | 10:30AM EST
REGISTER TODAY TO HEAR FROM THESE INDUSTRY EXPERTS:
You know your customers better than anyone. Why not offer them the products you use in your restaurant? Add to your bottom line and do your customers a favor. Learn from subject matter experts about topics ranging from maximizing curbside and delivery opportunities, supply chain and takeout opportunities and challenges. Industry leaders from Dining Alliance and food supply purveyors will give you some ideas about getting this innovative idea off the ground.
As we are seeing today, more communities are issuing stay at home orders. Your communities should have a list of what is considered essential personnel. The list below was compiled by federal government and private sector industries as a reference. Communities may have generated an independent list based on your community’s needs. You should reach out to your local officials to understand what their expectations are if they issue stay at home orders. For your information, you can use the following link:
Florida Main Street Program
From the Florida Redevelopment Association
Today, Governor DeSantis issued an executive order related to the suspension of in-person quorum for local governments. Local governments may utilize communication technology such as telephones and video conferencing to operate and they do not need to meet in a specific place.
This executive order does not waive any other requirements under the Florida Constitution and "Florida's Government in the Sunshine Laws."
To read the official executive order, click here.
CRA REPORTING DURING THIS TIME
Although this is an uncertain time for many, local CRA reporting is still due March 31.
All of the new requirements for the March annual report are contained in s.163.371, F.S. The enrolled bill can be found here. An FRA bill summary can be found here.
Can the CRA use money immediately to help local businesses? - Yes.
Make sure the decision is approved by your attorney (the attorney may contact David Cruz at [email protected], Deputy General Counsel of the Florida League of Cities, to consult at no charge) and your CRA board. Digital approval? Check w your attorney. Also carefully craft a policy and criteria to protect the CRA, and the CRA monies.
From the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association - Governor's Order
ALL Florida Restaurants must close for on-Premise dining ASAP
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Resources
Florida Local Bridge Loan Contacts.
Please forward this Covid-19 Business Recovery link as far and wide as you can for State of Florida businesses: http://floridajobs.org/rebuildflorida/businessrecovery
- This is where businesses requesting assistance will need to begin in terms of submitting applications.
- They can also simultaneously make applications at SBA here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance
Preparing Your Restaurants for Surging Delivery During COVID-19 by
clicking here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/preparing-your?
Resources for museums, artisits, musicians, event planners:
- COVID-19/coronavirus Resources & Information for the Museum Field
- Arts and Culture Sector Can Prepare for the Coronavirus in the United States
- ArtsReady: Preparing for Potential Impact of the Coronavirus
- Cuseum: Coronavirus Preparedness Community Document
- The International Association of Children in Museums: A curious guide for courageous kids
- Event Cancellation and What You Should Do - March 19 webinar (Running USA)
- Livestream Fundraising 101: What is Livestream Fundraising?, sgENGAGE blog
Resources from St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce
- St Johns County Chamber of Commerce – Working from Home
- St Johns County Chamber of Commerce – Creating E Commerce Opportunities
- St Johns County Chamber of Commerce – Legal Questions for Employers