Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID Testing:

Pinellas County Testing Sites: https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/testing/

We Wear Face Coverings

Pinellas CountyPinellas County Logo

Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners passed an emergency ordinance requiring that citizens wear face coverings in most indoor public places, and restaurants and bars to implement new safety and anti-crowding measures.

The countywide ordinance begins June 24 at 5 p.m., and will remain in effect through the duration of Pinellas County’s State of Local Emergency.

The ordinance defines a face covering as a material that covers the nose and mouth and remains affixed or a face shield. A cloth face covering, or mask, may be factory-made or sewn by hand and can be improvised from clothing or other household fabric items.

Requirements:

  • Citizens must wear a face covering while in most indoor public places within Pinellas County, although the Board provided several exceptions. Among them:
    • The mandate cannot conflict with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • It does not apply if a person is strictly adhering to social distancing and there are 10 or fewer people in the location who are also maintaining social distancing.
    • It does not apply to governmental entities such as schools, courthouses or city halls, although those entities are encouraged to develop procedures to protect employees and the public.
    • If a person is under age 18, that person’s use of a face covering is left to the discretion of that person’s parent, guardian or an accompanying adult.
    • Religious rituals such as various forms of singing are permitted provided that social distancing is strictly maintained.
    • Exercising while social distancing, such as in a gym, is permitted without a face covering.
  • Restaurant and bar staff must wear a face covering while on duty and while directly or indirectly preparing food or beverage, or serving food or beverage, or having customer contact, regardless of where the food or beverage is being prepared or whether the customers are inside or outside. Customers can remove their face coverings while dining or consuming a beverage when seated and social distancing.
  • Restaurants and bars must position chairs and tables so that parties of one or more are separated by six feet and patrons are not standing at the bar or congregating in any area.
  • Retail employees must wear face coverings unless working in an area of the business that is not open to the customers and has social distancing measures in place.

Carefully weighed decision
The Board made its decision based on COVID-19 trending data, the advice of the County’s leading public health officials, and CDC guidance. Through the Zoom virtual meeting platform, the Board also took several hours of public comment.

Dr. Ulyee Choe, the Florida Department of Health’s Director in Pinellas County, pointed out that the county’s rolling 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases is up to 219 per day, with a positive test rate of about 12 percent, whereas the positivity rate was only 1 to 2 percent five weeks ago. Dr. Angus Jameson, medical director for Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services, noted that COVID-19 cases in the greater Tampa Bay area have increased from about 125 per day three weeks ago to about 1,000 cases a day, raising concerns that COVID-19 will continue to spread exponentially and overwhelm the healthcare system.

Enforcement
The Board elected to adopt the emergency order by ordinance to allow it to be enforced as a non-criminal local ordinance violation, in addition to other enforcement remedies. Remedies include:

  • A warning.
  • A non-criminal ordinance violation citation that levies a fine.
  • Injunctive relief through a complaint filed in Circuit Court.
  • Misdemeanor arrest or a Notice to Appear for Repeat Violations.

More Information
Pinellas Emergency Ordinance 20-14
Pinellas County’s COVID-19 Response & Recommendations
Pinellas COVID-19 Data Dashboard

State of Florida
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation DBPR logo

The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) announced that effective immediately all on-premise consumption of alcohol at bars and nightclubs statewide has been suspended.

Those businesses that serve over 50% in food can continue to provide service at tables following CDC and local COVID-19 guidelines.

This is due to a one-day record spike in COVID-19 cases in Florida. Find details on the Emergency Order here - Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation Emergency Order.

Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) website gives you three options – one that is sewn and two others that are no-sew. Click on the link https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

Quick video on how to convert a bandana into a mask using a couple of hair ties or rubber bands. Click on the link https://giphy.com/gifs/mask-facemask-no-sew-XHXb2GdNeY7TkcQwhd?fbclid=IwAR1W7KA0HtJ-cRMpPpm1FnEc_YRk8Hxb81uT-NbzykfRbC2I1lZL6HAPTOk

Stay safe!

Stop the Virus Flyer

Recent news reports surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) have caused concern among employers and the general public. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said there is likely no way to stop the virus from spreading, it must be stressed that there is no need to panic. The National Safety Council agrees with CDC recommendations and urges employers to take basic precautions to curb the transmission of all infections, including cold and influenza viruses.

On Jan. 31, NSC issued a statement regarding COVID-19, including measures employers and employees can implement right now that follow guidelines prescribed by OSHA and CDC. You may have many of these policies already in place. Now is the time to remind your workforce to be vigilant and practice them.

Hygiene and health is key
As many employees know, particularly in the healthcare and hospitality industries, practicing standard sanitation and hygiene regimens is a top priority.

  • Always practice proper sterilization and infection control measures
  • Encourage frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water
  • Hand sanitizer, with at least 60% alcohol content, is a secondary option
  • Remind everyone to keep noses and mouths covered when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching these areas, as well as in and around the eyes, with unwashed hands
  • Ensure employees have access to PPE, including disposable gloves and masks if needed
  • Everyone who has not yet had a flu shot should get one as soon as possible

Sick employees should stay home
Employees who are sick should not report to work and should avoid contact with others. If employees have any concerns about COVID-19, advise them to see a doctor for evaluation immediately. Employees who have been sick should be fully recovered before returning to work.

What to do if you are sick

Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.

Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick:

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
  • Monitor your symptoms

 For more information on how you can prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick, please visit the CDC’s Steps When Sick page .

Travel safety and telecommuting
The U.S. Department of State has advised against all travel to China where COVID-19 originated. Employers should suspend business travel to China and be aware of other areas identified with an increase in cases (such as South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran and elsewhere). Daily situation reports on the spread of the COVID-19 are available here. Remind employees who have recently traveled to these areas to inform supervisors or Human Resources immediately.

If you have employees who are able to work safely and effectively from home or another remote location, consider allowing them to do so.

 NSC will continue to closely monitor developments surrounding COVID-19 and keep our members informed. The safety of workers is employers’ most vital task. For more information about the virus, please visit the CDC, OSHA or WHO.

Protect yourself and your community from COVID-19.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Practice social distancing!

COVID-19 Important Links and Updates

Below is an interactive map that displays data from all counties in Florida.  To view the most current data for Pinellas, use the menu to the right to find Pinellas and click.  You can also zoom into the map and click Pinellas County.

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211 Tampa Bay - We’re Here To Help!

211 Tampa Bay Cares Logo

211 Tampa Bay Cares is a non-profit organization that has been helping our community for almost 50 years. We live our mission of "improving lives through the power of information and hope" every day through the work we do in one of our many programs designed to restore hope. While 211 is a vital infrastructure, we are a charity that values our contributions from our generous supporters and partners to drive our ability to achieve our mission.  

Mission Statement - Improving Lives Through The Power Of Information And Hope.

Support Our Work To Restore Hope -  Donate Now

Vision Statement - A More Compassionate Community By Connecting Knowledge To Needs.

Click on this link to find more information - https://211tampabay.org/ 

Employee Resources 
Coronavirus Relief 

Bank of America
Will suspend mortgage, credit card bills, business loans, etc if you can show proof hardship is caused by coronavirus. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Other Financial Institutions
For all other mortgage, credit card bills, business loans, etc call your financial institution directly and ask for relief.

Duke Energy
In addition to suspending disconnections for non-payment during this time, effective March 21, we have waived all late payment fees and fees for returned checks. Customers who were recently disconnected can contact us to make arrangements for service restoration.
https://www.dukeenergyupdates.com/info/customer-service

Taxes
April 15th tax deadline was extended 90 days to July 15th.
https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Federal Income Tax payments delayed 90 days to July 15th.
https://www.deanmead.com/2020/03/payment-due-date-for-2019-tax-payments-delayed-for-90-days-due-to-coronavirus-interruptions/

Employee Assistance
Short time employee compensation program
http://floridajobs.org/office-directory/division-of-workforce-services/reemployment-assistance-programs/short-time-compensation-program-for-employees

Reemployment Assistance
http://floridajobs.org/job-seekers-community-services

Bartender Emergency Assistance 
https://www.usbgfoundation.org/beap

Additional Resources
Florida Department of Health rundown on the numbers and cases, etc.
https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/

Provided by Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce
www.tampabaybeaches.com/coronavirus

Business Resources
Coronavirus Relief 

Bank of America
Will suspend mortgage, credit card bills, business loans, etc if you can show proof hardship is caused by coronavirus. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Other Financial Institutions
For all other mortgage, credit card bills, business loans, etc call your financial institution directly and ask for relief.

Duke Energy
In addition to suspending disconnections for non-payment during this time, effective March 21, we have waived all late payment fees and fees for returned checks. Customers who were recently disconnected can contact us to make arrangements for service restoration.
https://www.dukeenergyupdates.com/info/customer-service

Taxes
April 15th tax deadline was extended 90 days to July 15th.
https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Florida Department of Revenue will ease deadlines for payment of the state’s corporate income and sales taxes until the end of the year.

Federal Income Tax payments delayed 90 days to July 15th.
https://www.deanmead.com/2020/03/payment-due-date-for-2019-tax-payments-delayed-for-90-days-due-to-coronavirus-interruptions/

Loans
Department of Economic Opportunity Bridge Loan - Interest free loans for 12 months for businesses. Although loans might always be what businesses are looking for, these loans can carry you through until federal assistance money comes through.  
https://floridadisasterloan.org/

Small Business Association Loan - Low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters.
https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/?fbclid=IwAR2QA-xHeEazCj7Wg8Yu3r6CZLs93n8nJ8uXFVcQwHl5yx53HczaWM9lskU

Grants
Small Business Facebook Grants
https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants

Employee Assistance
Short time employee compensation program
http://floridajobs.org/office-directory/division-of-workforce-services/reemployment-assistance-programs/short-time-compensation-program-for-employees

Reemployment Assistance
http://floridajobs.org/job-seekers-community-services

Bartender Emergency Assistance 
https://www.usbgfoundation.org/beap


Additional Resources

Provided by Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce
 www.tampabaybeaches.com/coronavirus