The City of Palm Bay’s Community & Economic Development Department is following all COVID-19 updates closely to identify resources for local businesses impacted by pandemic. The City has developed a Business Resiliency Toolkit, providing guidance for navigating the current economic crisis. Business resiliency planning can help to mitigate the impacts and disruption of disasters like COVID-19 and allow businesses to continue to function and return to normal as quickly as possible.
Governor DeSantis Announces Full Phase 1: Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step Plan for Florida's Recovery
Effective May 18th, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announces move to Full Phase 1 on Executive Order 20-123 Details of Full Phase 1
Effective May 11th, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-120 - Expanding Phase 1. The Order authorizes persons in Florida to provide or obtain barber and cosmetology services in licensed establishments that adopt appropriate social distancing and precautionary measures as outlined by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
On April 29th, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order Number 20-112 entitled Phase 1: Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step Plan for Florida's Recovery.
As part of the first phase re-opening efforts, the City of Palm Bay has launched the OUR Palm Bay initiative in support of area businesses. The OUR Palm Bay campaign, short for “Open Up and Recover,” provides resources to assist businesses with resiliency planning, the identification of funding opportunities, and support re-opening of Palm Bay business, to include a Back2Business Directory whereby businesses that are open under the Governor’s Executive Orders may register to let residents know that they’re open for business. The OUR Palm Bay initiative also includes several local waivers, flexibilities, and temporary relief programs relating to business resumption within the city limits of Palm Bay.
OUR Palm Bay Waivers and Accommodations
- Building Permit fees waived for all projects valued at $50,000 or less
- Valid June 1st through September 31st, 2020
- Code Compliance amnesty for eligible properties with old liens that are now in compliance
- Valid June 1st through December 31st, 2020
- Penalties waived for delinquent Business Tax Receipts (BTRs)
- Valid for businesses with 100 or fewer employees at each licensed location
- Penalties for BTRs not renewed by October 1st, 2020 will be waived through December 31st, 2020
On May 4th, the City released guidelines for outdoor dining. The City has historically not had formal outdoor dining regulations. In the past, requests for outdoor dining have been reviewed on an informal basis by Land Development Division staff. In order to expedite such requests in response to COVID-19, staff has implemented guidelines for restaurants to provide outdoor dining.
Restaurants seeking an outdoor dining certificate will be required to submit a site layout for plan review by Land Development staff. Restaurants will be required to maintain a six-feet separation between tables and meet certain provisions to be met relating to hours of operation, canopies, tents, or awnings and maintaining access to entrances or exits, fire lanes, hydrants or sprinkler connection points, drive aisles and back-up areas, pedestrian and handicap access, etc. Outdoor seating must be on a paved surface and seating capacity will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The re-opening of Palm Bay businesses is a key step in our community’s road to recovery following the outbreak of COVID-19. Make this step safely by following public health recommendations to protect employees and customers as we work together to get back to business in OUR Palm Bay.
Practice social distancing in the workplace. Consider rearranging workspaces to ensure that employees are separated by a distance of at least 6 feet. Floor markings or signs may be used to remind customers to maintain social distancing guidelines.
Promote healthy hygiene in your business by encouraging employees to wash hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content may be provided for employees and customers if hand washing facilities are unavailable.
Personal Protective Equipment
Encourage the proper use of personal protective equipment such as facemasks and gloves as needed, Disposable gloves and masks should be disposed of appropriately after use to limit accidental exposure. A cloth facemask may be used when interacting with others to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Regularly clean and sanitize your place of business. Frequently touched surfaces should be disinfected daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
As mandated by Governor DeSantis, businesses must take a phased approach to re-opening. Operation at 25% occupancy will ensure employees and customers have adequate space to proactive proper social distancing. Restaurants are required to separate dining tables by a minimum of at least 6 feet. Outdoor dining certificates are available and will be approved on a case-by-case basis by Land Development staff.
You should stay home if you are sick or if you believe that you may have been exposed to COVID-19. Employers may consider alternative working arrangements such as telework and should maintain leave policies and practices that are consistent with public health guidelines. The CDC does not recommend that businesses require employees to submit a positive COVID-19 test result to approve sick leave due to a high demand for testing and wait times.
Outdoor Dining Guidelines During COVID-19
The City of Palm Bay has no formal outdoor dining regulations in the City’s Code of Ordinances. To support local restaurants, the City intends to review and expedite outdoor dining requests on a case-by-case basis. Restaurants will be asked to submit an informal outdoor seating plan for Land Development staff to review. Learn More
Palm Bay businesses that are permitted to re-open under the Governors newest Executive Orders 20-111 and 20-112 as well as those that have been able to remain open during COVID-19 are encouraged to input their business hours of operations, website and contact information to let residents and consumers know that they're open for business. This initiative is two-fold: support local business and provide needed products and services to residents.
The Back2Business Directory is limited to businesses operating within the city limits of Palm Bay. Business owners are required to maintain updates to their business information on the website. The Back2Business Directory is available at www.palmbayflorida.org/back2business. The Back2Business Directory serves as a key component of the first phase of the City's initiative to Open Up and Recover, known as OUR Palm Bay.
In anticipation of a phased re-opening of business and industry, the City’s Office of Community & Economic Development would like input from the local business community. Please share your questions, concerns and recommendations on restoring our local economy be completing a brief survey. Businesses can access the survey by visiting www.developpalmbay.org/reopen.
For further assistance, contact the Community & Economic Development Department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (321) 409-7187.
The City’s Economic Development staff want to hear from local businesses that are adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Palm Bay businesses are encouraged to complete a brief online survey, which is intended to inform the City of the current challenges that businesses are facing and the programs and services required. Businesses can access the survey by visiting www.developpalmbay.org/businessimpact.
For further assistance, contact the Community & Economic Development Department by emailing email@example.com or calling (321) 409-7187.
- First and foremost: Keep your people safe. Employees are an essential resource for any business. Keeping your employees healthy is crucial for business resiliency.
- Allow employees to work remotely, when possible. With internet, remote devices, cloud storage for documents, data, voicemails, and transferring calls to cell phones – anything is possible.
- Ensure internal (staff) and external lines (customers) of communication remain open.
- Utilize the various video conferencing software and technologies for virtual meetings in lieu of in-person meetings. Continue to connect with customers online via your business webpage and social media.
- Prioritize critical operations. Identify what you must do to maintain operations.
- Identify what revenue-generating operations can continue.
- Cross-train employees on essential functions to ensure business continuity should any key employee be unavailable.
- Pivot your product or service to meet the current needs of the market, where possible.
- Who are you primary customers? Are they affected by this pandemic?
- Can your product or service meet a need or fill a void in this crisis?
- Can your product or service be made available online? Is e-commerce an option?
- How can you diversify your supply chain? How can you access consumers directly?
- Do you own or rent? What financial resources are available for you to sustain your brick-and-mortar location? Will your lender or landlord allow postponement or reduction of rent or mortgage to ensure your operations can resume?
- Use downtime to review and update your business plan.
- Update your business’s Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) – If you don’t have one, you should. Florida businesses face hurricane season annually beginning June 1 through November 30. Now’s the time to include other disasters like COVID-19 to your COOP.
- Stay Connected. Reach out to your local municipal economic development office or local chamber for business resources and programs. Reach out to your local trade association to see what resources, tips and trends are occurring in your industry.
- Remember: We are all in this together.
Business Damage Assessment and Emergency Loan Program
In response to COVID-19, the State of Florida has activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on local business operations to help direct State resources and enable access to federal programs. The City encourages any business affected by COVID-19 to complete the survey.
Results from the survey will be shared with state agencies and local partners. Surveys submitted by small businesses can be used to access the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, made available through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Documentary Stamps for SBA Loans
Governor DeSantis issues Executive Order 20-95 suspending assessment and collection of taxation imposed for all notes and written obligations (SBA guaranteed loans) made under Title I of the CARES Act.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides small businesses with working capital loans up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid. Learn more.
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll by providing each small business a loan up to $10 million for payroll and certain other expenses.
If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable.
Express Bridge Loans
The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO)
Short-Time Compensation Program for Employers
Florida DEO offers Short-Time Compensation Program to help employers retain their workforce in times of temporary slowdown by encouraging work sharing as an alternative to layoff. The program permits prorated reemployment assistance benefits to employees whose work hours and earnings are reduced as part of a Short Time Compensation plan to avoid total layoff of some employees.
Re-employment Assistance Program for Employees
The Florida DEO provides Reemployment Assistance (formerly Unemployment Compensation) offering temporary wage benefits to qualified individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own.
Emergency Bridge Loan Program
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announces the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide funding support to small businesses across the State impacted by the pandemic. These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance. Learn more.
Department of Revenue
Department of Revenue has extended the deadlines for Sales Tax for adversely affected taxpayers due to COVID-19. Learn more.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The IRS has announced that it will delay the 2019 tax payments, originally due on April 15, to July 15, 2020. Learn more.
Economic Development Commission (EDC) of Florida’s Space Coast
The EDC of Florida’s Space Coast offers a list of regional resources available to assist businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. CARES Act Small Business Guide and Checklist
FPL COVID-19 Business Resource Center
FPL understands just how disruptive the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been and remain committed to doing the right thing for customers and the communities they serve. As Florida begins to re-open, FPL is continuing their crisis policies and will suspend electrical disconnections through May 31.
FPL have put together some resources for businesses as they begin to reopen and resume normal operations. Visit FPL Business Resource Center to find information about:
- What demand energy is and how it works
- Tips on how to minimize your demand energy
- Federal funding resources