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.  

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Available to Small Businesses  

Orange County Government’s PPE for Small Biz initiative provides personal protective equipment (PPE) including face masks and 2-oz.hand sanitizer bottles to eligible small businesses at six drive-thru pick-up sites throughout Orange County, beginning Monday, May 11 and continuing until Friday, May 15 or until supplies run out.   

Small business owners must register by completing an Interest Form at ocfl.net/PPE as soon as possible, as the form will be inaccessible once supplies run out.  

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 under Phase 1 of the State of Florida’s executive order, 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.   

These opportunities include:  

  • Allowing businesses to expand retail sales and restaurant seating into outdoor areas such as private parking lots and public rights-of-way    

  • Authorizing businesses to use small, farmer’s market-style tents to accommodate for sales and seating outdoors   

  • Granting businesses the ability to use extra banners and signage for marketing   

  • Covering the costs of downtown parking to encourage residents to patronize businesses within our urban core  

For more information on expanding sales into the right-of-way, using tents and extra banners and signage, please click here, scroll to the bottom of the page and open the PDF for the Temporary Use Permit. For a video on how you may be able to use these tools at your business, please click here.

Business interested in obtaining parking validations to cover parking for their patrons should click here.  

All programs will be available to businesses until September 1, 2020.   

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

On Wednesday, April 29, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-112 which outlined his phase 1 plan for reopening Florida’s economy. Phase I businesses are able to open Monday, May 4 and include retail businesses and dining establishments that can operate at 25% of their indoor capacity. Outdoor seating is permissible with appropriate distancing of at least six feet between parties, only seating parties of 10 or fewer people and keeping bar counters closed to seating.  

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

Gyms and bars will remain closed.    

All residents, when in public, should maximize physical distance from others and avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for physical distancing. The governor also recommends face masks for all those in face-to-face interactions and where it is not possible to social distance.  

The City of Orlando will continue to provide updates related to the governor’s plans for opening any phase 2 businesses.  

To read the governor’s Executive Order 20-112, click here, to see his presentation click here and a list of frequently asked questions can be found here. To read the Governor’s Executive Order 20-120, click here and for a list of frequently asked questions, click here.

To report a business in violation of the state's phase 1 re-opening plan and Executive Orders, please visit the state's Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).  

Orange County Task Force  

Mayor Demings’ Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force continues to meet and will provide additional recommendations for reopening Orange County businesses, including a phased approach to easing restrictions, while ensuring the safety of employees and the public. For more information about the Task Force, its meeting schedule and how to view meetings, click here.

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:
    • Paycheck Protection Program to help cover payroll and additional costs for 8 weeks with a loan of up to $10 million, which can be forgiven if employers maintain employee wages for the entire 8-week period.  
    • 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. The state has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans related to economic injury from COVID-19, however as of April 13, 2020, is no longer accepting new applications.  

Request a Reduction in Garbage Service 

The City of Orlando is offering a reduction in the level of garbage service to businesses that have been impacted or have had to temporarily close due to COVID-19. Reducing your garbage service reduces the fee you pay for garbage pickup, which is typically included with your OUC bill. Click here to request a reduction in your garbage service.   

OUC Assistance to Businesses 

OUC lowered electric rates for May bills, representing an 11.2% to 19.7% reduction for commercial customers.  

OUC allocated $1.5 million for future utility bill payment assistance to small businesses. Exact criteria for the proposed $1.5 million in small commercial customer credits is still being determined and OUC will provide more information in the next few weeks, with the goal of launching this aid in May.  

OUC has suspended electric and water disconnections for nonpayment and waived late payment fees until further notice. Payment arrangements and deferred payment plans are also available for customers. 

Tax Extensions  

  • Please visit the Florida Department of Revenue here for information on sales and use tax and corporate income/franchise tax extensions.  

  • Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh extended all Tangible Personal Property (TPP) tax returns which are due on May 15, 2020, instead of the standard April 1 deadline. 

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.  

Orlando Health has launched a resource website to assist businesses as they prepare to resume operations. 

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