COVID-19 Industry Update

May 19, 2020

On Friday, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-123, which became effective Monday.

Additional guidance regarding that order has been developed by Pinellas County and the Pinellas County Sheriff with updates coming Tuesday.

Here is the latest guidance.

Regardless of businesses now allowed to operate and activities now permitted to occur, physical distancing is still required---persons in gatherings must remain 6 feet apart and groups of people are limited to 10.

Under the Governor’s orders, the only businesses that cannot operate are bars, pubs and nightclubs that derive more than 50% gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages.

All of the following businesses may operate at 50 percent of their authorized capacity, except larger spectator sports, which may operate at 25 percent of capacity.

  • Restaurants
    • 50% seating capacity excludes employees
    • Outdoor seating unrestricted
    • No seating at bar counters where alcohol is served
  • Breweries
    • Per the State Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) guidance, may operate as long as there is a food truck associated with the brewery or the brewery has a restaurant in it, and they have outdoor seating.
  • Retail sales
  • Museums/libraries
  • Gyms/fitness center
    • Dance studios, yoga and other fitness classes or similar activities
  • Personal service businesses, such as nail salons, barbershops, hair salons, cosmetology specialty salons, tattoo services, massage services and other one-on-one services.
    • Appointment only; 15 minutes between appointments
    • No group appointments
    • Masks must be worn by employees
  • Professional sports
    • Large spectator sporting events up to 25 percent of capacity
  • Recreation and large venues
    • Includes movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, bowling alleys, arcades, playhouses and casinos
    • Cleaning and disinfecting required
    • Masks worn by employees

On Monday, the county submitted a plan to the state for the reopening of vacation rentals but as of Tuesday evening Pinellas County had not heard back regarding approval.


The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday extended its local State of Emergency declaration for COVID-19 through May 29 and reaffirmed its commitment to continue following state guidance.

Resolution 20-44 extends the declaration through May 29 and readopts County orders requiring social distancing at public beaches and pools, and keeping playgrounds closed. In all other categories, the County is aligned with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery and related guidance from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.


Staff also updated the Board on the Pinellas CARES assistance programs for individuals, families and small businesses. Since launching the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant program, local businesses have submitted more than 3,700 applications for a one-time grant of $5,000. The County has issued 307 checks so far, totaling $1.5 million. The program is focused on businesses with a commercial location in the county to help cover losses caused by the pandemic. Qualifying businesses can apply online through June 1.

Eligible individuals and families also have until June 1 to request emergency help paying for overdue rent and utilities. So far, Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance has helped more than 130 people pay for overdue rent or utilities, with another 641 requests in progress. Applicants can text COVIDCARES to 898211 to start the process or visit this website for more information on qualifications.

Applicants to both programs are urged to carefully review the qualifications and submit all required documents the first time they submit their application to ensure faster review.


In other news, the County announced today the launch of a Data Dashboard with COVID-19 related case, testing and healthcare capacity data for Pinellas County. The dashboard is available on the County COVID-19 resource website.

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