Commission Extends Local State of Emergency with No Changes
- County closely monitoring impacts of partial reopening, Phase 1 of Governor’s COVID-19 recovery plan
- Commission appropriates federal stimulus package funding for Pinellas CARES programs, other healthcare and human services needs
The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners extended its COVID-19 Local State of Emergency to May 15 while making no changes to County guidance provided last week in light of Phase 1 of the governor’s step-by-step plan for recovery.
The County allowed the conditional reopening of shared pools and childcare facility playgrounds last Thursday and opened public beaches with social distancing requirements on Monday. Additionally, Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order 2020-112 went into effect Monday and allows for the limited resumption of many nonessential businesses and limited restaurant seating.
The Board adopted Resolution 20-40 after discussing ongoing efforts related to monitoring COVID-19 trending data, ramping up testing in all parts of the county, encouraging the wearing of masks in public places, protecting vulnerable populations at long-term care facilities and enforcing compliance in public places with capacity and social distancing requirements. The commissioners received detailed updates from County Administrator Barry A. Burton, Florida Department of Health Pinellas Director Dr. Ulyee Choe and Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman announced that dog parks, playgrounds, recreation facilities and libraries will remain closed for an additional week. Also, restaurants will be allowed to use parking lots or other adjacent spaces for outdoor seating but will have to apply for the expanded seating by emailing [email protected].
CARES ACT AND TAMPA BAY RESILIENCY FUND
The Board also adopted Resolution 20-42 budgeting and appropriating funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Tampa Bay Resiliency.
Fund to support the Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance and Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant programs, the Emergency Medical Services Fund to support COVID-19 healthcare-related expenses, Emergency Solutions Grant funding to anticipate and respond to the pandemic’s impact on the homeless, and Community Development Block Grant funding for other pandemic-related human services needs. More information about the Pinellas CARES programs, including application instructions and links, can be found here. For wide-ranging general information and resources, visit Pinellas County’s COVID-19 website.
HELP FOR FAMILIES, INDIVIDUALS, BUSINESSES
The County received $170 million as part of the CARES Act stimulus. Funds will help support some small businesses and qualifying individuals struggling to pay rent, utilities and other expenses from lost income due to COVID-19. Since launching the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants program Monday, more than 1,500 businesses have submitted an application online.
The County anticipates having enough funds for all eligible businesses, which must have 25 or fewer employees, operate in a commercial location within the county and meet other criteria. Applicants are encouraged to check all qualifications and ensure their application has all the required documents before submitting it for the fastest response. Full program details can be found here.
A separate County program targeted to assist Pinellas County low-income individuals and families who need emergency help paying rent or utilities is also available. Details about Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance can be found here.