The letter below was published on the City of Orlando website March 18, 2020. You can read it HERE as well as below.
Dear Business Owner,
Every hour, we’re making difficult decisions as a city government that we are not taking lightly. Every decision that impacts our residents and businesses is being made in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save the lives of family members, friends and neighbors.
With the threat of COVID-19 increasing every day, public health is our top priority and we know that gathering in groups, even in businesses, can put lives at risk.
We wanted to provide this opportunity to thank you for your patience and support during this trying time, clarify some details about business operations within the city and provide information for resources that may be of benefit to you or your employees.
We’ve received a lot of questions about mandated business closures. Within the City of Orlando, businesses have not been mandated to close, however additional regulations have been placed on certain businesses per the Governor’s March 17 Executive Order including:
Bars/Taverns/Nightclubs - alcohol sales are prohibited where it is consumed on-premise at bar, nightclub and tavern establishments (any premise that derives more than 50 percent of its gross revenue from alcoholic beverages). This does not apply to stores where alcohol is sold, but not consumed.
Restaurants, including those with bars inside, are allowed to sell alcohol for onsite consumption, however they must limit their occupancy to 50 percent of their current occupancy, should ensure at least a six-foot distance between any groups of patrons and limiting parties to no more than 10 people.
The Orlando Police Department, along with the state, will investigate any violations and if necessary, take appropriate enforcement action.
At this time, all other businesses within the City of Orlando can continue to operate, but we are asking that they take proactive measures to encourage social distancing as outlined by the CDC, including keeping guests six feet apart and not having gatherings of more than 10 people at one time. We ask each of you to practice these measures within your business, so we can prevent the spread of this virus in our community.
Please know that we do not want to create additional financial hardships for businesses or their employees by imposing additional restrictions or closures, but the health of our community is the highest priority. We will continue to look for guidance from the state and federal government when it comes to any additional regulation or closures regarding commercial establishments.
Resources Available to Businesses:
Helping our national and local economy recover from the financial impacts of this unprecedented global pandemic will take the partnership of governments at all levels.
At this time, we do not have any information about how the President’s proposed economic stimulus package may support businesses, but we will continue to follow this matter.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has asked business owners to take a survey to assess the impact of the virus on business operations and has also activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The program will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experience economic injury from COVID-19.
Our partners at the Orlando Economic Partnership have also created an online resource center for employers and businesses to serve as one-stop-shop for information and resources available throughout our region.
Resources for Your Employees:
COVID-19 may be impacting your employees as well. Year-round, the Heart of Florida United Way connects residents to financial assistance programs and yesterday announced the new ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Fund which provides assistance with rent, mortgage and utility assistance to help prevent eviction and homelessness. Residents seeking assistance should call 2-1-1, text their zip code to 898211 or visit HFUW.org/Chat.
Businesses like yours are the backbone of our economy, providing jobs and unique goods and services to residents. Please know that as we emerge from this challenge, the City of Orlando is committed to connecting you with resources to keep your business moving forward.
Buddy Dyer Mayor