Florida's Step-By-Step Plan
On Friday, May 15, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-123, which brings all Florida counties into Full Phase 1: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery. Retailers, restaurants, gyms and fitness centers may re-open on Monday, May 18, 2020. Restaurants, which had been allowed to serve people at 25 percent capacity, will be able to serve patrons at 50 percent capacity.
COVID-19 Workforce Solutions
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is first and foremost a human tragedy. It is also having a significant impact on the global and local economy. The topics below provide Port St. Lucie entrepreneurs and business owners with business resources to navigate their businesses through outbreak.
Check back often. We'll be updating this portal as new resources and funding becomes available. If you have any questions or wish to speak to our Business Navigator directly, please contact:
Elijah L. Wooten, Jr., MBA
The City of Port St. Lucie values the products and services offered by your business to our residents. During the COVID-19 national disaster, several businesses have temporarily closed or have limited operations. We want to promote those businesses that are open, so our residents can patronize your company. Please take a few minutes to answer brief questions.
- What's Open in PSL Business List: Results from the survey are updated weekly.
The City of Port St. Lucie is seeking input from business owners regarding your experience in submitting applications for Federal and State COVID-19 Disaster Loan Programs. Please take a few minutes to complete this brief survey and provide input on accessing the loan programs as well as the application and review process.
Virtual Job Fair: U.S. Rep. Brian Mast's office has posted job openings from various employment websites to help residents in his district find jobs The website is updated as new job openings become available.
Florida’s Reemployment Assistance Program
File for Unemployment
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO): covid19.floridajobs.org
- If you are self-employed, a contracted worker or gig worker and applied for unemployment benefits prior to April 4, the DEO has advised that claimants must resubmit a new unemployment claim.
- The DEO has released a "Benefits Scenario" flow chart to advise claimants how to apply for benefits based on their current unemployment status.
- If you are seeking to apply for a new unemployment benefit claim, claimants should apply at covid19.floridajobs.org.
- Reemployment Assistance Guide
- Reemployment Assistance Application: You can submit applications via mail. Those without internet access or the ability to print the forms can pick up hard copies outside the Kilmer, Lewis and Morningside libraries.
- FedEX is offering free printing and mailing of unemployment assistance paper applications at over 100 storefronts across the state: www.fedex.com/locate
CareerSource Research Coast (CSRC): careersourceflorida.org
- CareerSource Research Coast to Reopen Indian River, Martin and St. Lucie County Career Centers to the Public June 1, 2020 by Appointment Only
- CareerSource Research Coast (CSRC) is working with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to ensure that all Floridians receive the benefits they’re entitled to. To facilitate this process, CSRC will assist DEO with the distribution of mail-in applications for reemployment assistance benefits throughout the local workforce development area. St. Lucie, Martin and Indian River County residents who still need to file for reemployment assistance benefits may pick up printed applications from door-mounted brochure display boxes at any one of four CSRC career centers.
- CareerSource: Local Job Opportunities
Have Question or Need Help?
For individuals seeking unemployment benefits or have questions about their application status, the Department of Economic Opportunity has NEW multiple options for claimants to seek assistance:
Talk with a counselor
The SCORE can help you with financial projections to determine your cash-flow needs and repayment ability, how you can be the best-qualified applicant for assistance, as well as other help and questions you might have about your business.
Seek stimulus funds
The CARES Act: Passed by Congress and signed by the President, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act tasks the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with overseeing the distribution of millions of dollars in loans and grants to help small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provides additional funding for SBA’s resource partners to provide advice and training to help small businesses respond to the unprecedented challenges in communities throughout the country.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Resumes 4/27/20: The SBA has resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. EDT. The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans: SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Save Small Business Grant Program: Due to overwhelming interest in this grant program, the US Chamber of Commerce is no longer accepting new applications.
Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program: The Federal Reserve has announced that it is establishing a Main Street Lending Program to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program will operate through two facilities: the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF) and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF).
The Community Foundation: The Community Foundation works in partnership with local governments and funders to ensure the Fund has maximum reach and effectiveness.
Amazon Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund: Amazon will determine on a case-by-case basis the amount of the grant your business qualifies for. Only businesses with 50 employees or less, or that take in less than $7 million in annual revenue, qualify.
Facebook Small Business Grants Program: Facebook is offering up to 30,000 small businesses $100 million in cash grants and Facebook advertising credits.
Deadline Extensions & Deferment
The federal tax return filing deadline is now July 15, 2020.
For tax payments of up to $10 million, the IRS has also extended the deadline for both individuals and businesses to July 15, 2020. Estimated tax payments for 2020 originally due on April 15 will now be due on July 15.
Check with your state tax agency to find out if your business has more time to file or more time to pay state and local taxes this year as a result of the coronavirus. Several states have already aligned their tax filing and payment deadlines with the new federal deadline. States also may waive or reduce penalties on late tax payments.
Many banks have offered deferment and forbearance to business loan customers having trouble making payments. Check with your bank for updates. Check Forbes' list of banks offering relief. You can also search for your bank on the American Bankers Association’s ongoing A-Z list of coronavirus response programs.
- All restaurant outdoor seating must meet ADA regulations and cannot block access points, sidewalks, ramps or obstruct the travel lanes of the parking lot.
- If your restaurant currently has an alcoholic beverage license, you will need to modify your license to include the outdoor seating area.
- Retail stores can display merchandise at the store’s outdoor entrance.
- Displays are limited to one half of the business’ store frontage.
- Stores with more than one entrance will be limited to the same total by any combination.
Additional Questions on Tent Permit Requirements Call:
- St. Lucie County Fire District: 772-621-3322
- City Building Department: 772-871-5132
The City of Port St. Lucie would like to remind all commercial property owners that during this time, they may utilize the ordinance on temporary signage to further promote their business. Per the 2018 updated sign code; commercial properties are permitted up to 32 square feet of signage per parcel, set no less than 10 feet away from the property line. Signs may not be placed on poles, streetlights, sidewalks, swales, or center median of the road.
General Financial Tips
Financial Security: Managing Money in Tough Times – Financial Security for All: Learning positive money management techniques can help you and your family adapt to tough economic times.
Business Financial Tips
If your business is open, tell people. Post your hours on social media, update your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and send out e-newsletters to your distribution list.
Increase your social media presence. As many residents are now working from home or at home with children attending school online, it is important to engage your customers where they currently are, online and on social media.
Restaurants – Promote carry-out and curbside delivery. Also promote your menu online and offer discounts for daily specials. Offer catering-sized portions of favorite dishes for curb-side pick-up.
Promote a clean environment for your customers. Include photos on your social media pages of staff cleaning your business environment.
Check with your insurance carrier to find out if your insurance policy includes a Business Disruption rider. Business disruption insurance can replace loss income in the event of a business operation being halted due to extenuating circumstances. The Business Disruption Insurance can also cover operating expenses.
Due to the widespread impact of COVID-19 many businesses and landlords are impacted. Take advantage of the various Federal and State disaster loan programs that can cover payroll and working capital expenses. Also ask your landlord if they offer rent concessions or payment arrangements.
The Utilities Systems Department can provide payment arrangements on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the Connection Support Division at 772-873-6400 for details.
- Florida Chamber of Commerce: Follow Facts Not Fear
- Florida Department of Health: floridahealthcovid19.gov
- Guidance for Businesses & Employees Factsheet
- Florida SBDC
- St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce
- St. Lucie County (SLC) Economic Development Council (EDC): Business Assistance Resource Portal
- SBA Disaster Loan
- SBA Disaster Loan Guide Factsheet
- US Department of Labor: COVID-19 and the American Workplace
- UF/IFAS Extension Office Offers Resources for Financial Wellness
- Virtual Business Recovery Center (VBRC)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS): www.irs.gov/coronavirus
Elijah Wooten, Port St. Lucie’s Business Navigator is helping our business owners connect with the resources available. From disaster assistance loans to fee forgiveness from banks and credit card companies, there are many resources offering relief to struggling small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s here to take your questions to help you take advantage of the following resources so you can stay informed and lessen the impact of this crisis.