Assistance for Business Owners

Information for Businesses  

As our current situation continues to unfold, the City of Orlando will provide regular updates to our business community regarding information and resources available at the federal, state and local government levels as well as resources offered by our economic development partners. 

City of Orlando Approves Changes to Help Businesses Open and Operate Safely

In an effort to help expedite a path to economic recovery and to further assist local businesses to reopen responsibly, the City of Orlando approved a package of actions that provide opportunities for businesses to temporarily expand their operational space and market their businesses outside, without the need to obtain city permits or pay any fees.  

All programs will be available to businesses until August 1, 2021.

Click here to learn more.

Governor DeSantis’ Safe.Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery

On Friday, September 25, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 20-244, moving the state into Phase 3 of its re-opening plan which allows:

  • Restaurants, bars and nightclubs that derive more than 50% of sales from alcohol can operate at full capacity.
  • Gyms and fitness centers can open at full capacity.
  • Other businesses that can reopen with limited social distancing; movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, bowling alleys, arcades, playhouses and casinos).
  • Local governments can resume in-person meetings.
  • Large sporting events can resume, but limited capacity is recommended.
  • Theme parks can return to normal operations with limited social distancing protocols.
  • Businesses can still require customers to wear masks, but DeSantis said "all outstanding fines and penalties that have been applied against individuals are suspended."

On Thursday, September 10, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) issued Emergency Order 2020-10 allowing bars, pubs, breweries and night clubs (deriving 50% or less of their income from food sales) to operate at 50% capacity for on-site consumption, so long as they provide seated service only, beginning Monday, September 14. 

On Friday, June 26, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) issued Executive Order 2020-09 which prohibits bars, pubs and night clubs (deriving 50% or less of their income from food sales) from serving alcohol for consumption on premises. These establishments are allowed to engage in sales of sealed containers for off premises consumption. Restaurants may continue to operate at 50% indoor capacity and are still allowed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption onsite so long as patrons are being served while seated at tables.

On Wednesday, June 3, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-139. Effective Friday, June 5, the state moved to Phase 2 of its re-opening plan which allows: 

  • Retail establishments can operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and sanitization practices. 
  • Restaurants maintain operations at 50% capacity but may begin to allow bar-top seating with appropriate social distancing.
  • Gyms and fitness centers can operate at full capacity using appropriate social distancing and safety measures, including sanitizing equipment.
  • The number of individuals allowed at social gatherings increases from 10 to 50.
  • Movie theaters, bowling alleys and other entertainment-based businesses can operate at 50% capacity with appropriate social distancing and sanitization practices.
  • Personal service businesses, including tattoo parlors, acupuncture, tanning salons and massage establishments may operate while adhering to guidance from the Florida Department of Health.

On Friday, May 15, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-123 moving to a full Phase 1 of the state's re-opening plan, effective Monday, May 18.

On Saturday, May 9, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-120 allowing barbershops, hair salons and nail salons to re-open as part of Phase 1.  

On Wednesday, April 29, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-112, effective Monday, May 4 outlining the initial Phase 1 plan for re-opening Florida’s economy. 

To read the Governor’s Taskforce Report on the plan to re-open Florida, please click here

To report a business in violation of the state’s re-opening plan and Executive Orders, please contact the state's Department of Business and Professional Regulation

The City of Orlando will continue to provide updates related to the Governor’s plans for re-opening.

BRACE Business Ambassadors

The Orlando Economic Partnership's Business Recovery Assistance and Collaborative Engagement (BRACE) program is a free service with Partnership “ambassadors” available to connect small business owners with resources. 

Financial Resources

Helping our economy recover from the financial impacts of this virus will take the partnership of government at all levels, so we continue gather the most up-to-date information on resources available. At the current time, some of these resources include:

The federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes resources for small businesses and non-profits through the Small Business Administration (SBA) including:

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) offer up to $2 million to help small businesses overcome loss of revenue and emergency grants to provide immediate relief for operating costs. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.  

The state’s Department of Economic Opportunity asks business owners to take a survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on business operations.

Other Resources

The Orlando Economic Partnership has also created an online resource center for employers and businesses to serve as a one-stop-shop for information and resources available throughout our region.  

Our Business Development Division, led by Division Manager Sherry Gutch, has a team of people to answer questions and connect our business leaders to resources and can be reached by emailing economicdevelopment@orlando.gov

The City of Orlando has been sending regular email updates for businesses. To join the mailing list and to view the most recent and previous issues, please click here.