We’re Here to Help

Updated July 28, 2020

At the Bradenton Area EDC, the well-being of our client companies, investors and community is our top priority. We understand the concern and uncertainty business owners may be experiencing surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are committed to responding to local business-related needs as the situation evolves.

This is a fluid situation and it’s important to stay informed. The EDC participates as a member of Manatee County’s Emergency Operations team and remains in close contact with local and state agencies. Our primary role in this situation is to provide to Manatee County businesses the information and access to resources they may need if their operations are adversely impacted.

Please scroll down for links to resources you may need. Our team is available for consultation, if needed.

Get the latest local Coronavirus information from public health officials by texting “Manateeready” to 888-777.

Sign up here to stay informed with periodic email updates from the Bradenton Area EDC.

Masks now mandatory for businesses in Manatee County, with some exceptions

Effective July 27, 2020: Manatee County Commissioners have passed resolution no. R-20-116 requiring those entering a business in Manatee County to wear a face mask. The resolution is effective immediately and requires an individual in a business establishment to wear a face-covering while inside the business, unless social distancing can be achieved (6 feet or more apart).

The mask mandate does not supersede requirements put in place by municipalities in the county. It does not apply to children under age six or to those “who have trouble breathing due to a chronic pre-existing condition or individuals with a documented or demonstrable medical problem.” Please review the resolution for more details on requirements, exceptions and potential fines for noncompliance. The mask requirement is effective until further notice.

Helpful Links

Regional PPE Manufacturers, Distributors & Related Resources

As businesses are getting back to work, protecting employees, customers, and clients is important. The Bradenton Area EDC in collaboration with our regional partners has compiled a list of personal protective equipment (PPE) and related resources to support our local businesses and manufacturers.


Workplace Safety Tips

We asked essential businesses to share tips on workplace safety measures they are using to keep employees and customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Please download the pdf for helpful hints, then visit our PPE Resources page to find the supplies you need from local vendors.

Download Workplace Safety Tips PDF

Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step.

Florida’s Plan for Recovery

Phase 2

Gov. DeSantis announced the second phase of a gradual reopening of activities in the State of Florida. The official executive order can be found here. The second phase begins on June 5, 2020.


Restaurants and other establishments, including bars, may operate at 50% indoor capacity, excluding employees.

Entertainment businesses, including but not limited to movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, and arcades may operate at 50% of their building capacity, with appropriate social distancing between groups and appropriate sanitation.

Personal services, including but not limited to tattooing, body piercing, acupuncture, tanning, and massage, may operate with appropriate safety guidelines as outlined by the Department of Health.

In-store retail businesses, including gyms and fitness centers, should maintain appropriate social distancing and sanitation protocols.

Effective June 26, 2020: The Department of Business and Professional Regulation issued Emergency Order 2020-09 suspending the sale of alcoholic beverages by vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises. This order applies to businesses with 50 percent gross revenue from such sales, including bars and nightclubs.


Vulnerable individuals are strongly encouraged to avoid crowds and take measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

All persons in Florida are encouraged to avoid congregating in groups larger than 50 persons.

All persons who work in long-term care facilities should be tested for COVID-19 on a routine basis.

Phase 1

Gov. DeSantis announced the first phase of a gradual reopening of activities in the State of Florida, except for certain counties in Southeast Florida. The official executive order can be found here. The first phase begins May 4, 2020.

Schools and Businesses

  • Schools remain distance learning.
  • Visits to senior living facilities are prohibited.
  • Elective surgeries can resume.
  • Restaurants may offer outdoor seating with six foot space between tables and indoor seating at 25% capacity.
  • Retail can operate at 25% indoor capacity.
  • No change for bars, gyms, and personal services such as hair dressers.

Effective May 18, 2020: Restaurants and food establishments may offer indoor seating at 50% capacity, retail can operate at 50% indoor capacity and gyms and fitness centers may operate up to 50% of their building occupancy so long as they adopt safety measures including appropriate social distancing for classes and sufficient cleaning supplies to ensure, at a minimum, patrons’ individual self-cleaning of surfaces and machines using sanitation wipes following each us per executive order 20-123.

Effective May 11, 2020: Barbershops, cosmetology salons, and cosmetology specialty salons that adopt appropriate social distancing and precautionary measures outlined by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations may provide services per executive order 20-120.


  • Vulnerable individuals should avoid close contact with people outside the home.
  • All individuals, when in public, should maximize physical distance from others.
  • Avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for physical distancing.
  • Face masks are recommended for all those in face-to-face interactions and where you can’t social distance.

Financial Assistance for Businesses

Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act

Effective June 17: The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, posted a revised, borrower-friendly Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application implementing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020, signed into law by President Trump on June 5, 2020. In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application.

Click here to view applications

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010) has now been signed into law. This act provides greater flexibility and time for borrowers to use the funds as intended – keeping employees on the payroll. The legislation extends the forgiveness period that borrowers can spend funds from 8 weeks to 24 weeks and lessens the payroll expenditure requirement from 75% to 60%. In terms of forgiveness requirements for headcount levels, borrowers have the 24 week period to restore workforce levels to pre-pandemic levels. If borrowers are unable to restore to full levels, there are two exceptions including the inability to rehire past employees and find new employees or the inability to return to the same level of business activity due to compliance with safety operating requirements. Repayment of the loans can be extended to five years, instead of two, and some payroll taxes can be deferred.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in economic assistance to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue resulting from the disaster. 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.

Interest rates offered are as low as 3.75% for businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. Loan amounts are set by the SBA and based on each applicant’s financial condition. Repayment terms are up to 30 years, and businesses only pay interest on the amount they borrow.

Microfinance Guarantee Program

Enterprise Florida’s Microfinance Guarantee Program was designed to stimulate access to credit for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the state that employ 25 employees or fewer and generate an average annual gross revenues of $1.5 million or less per year for the last 2 years. The Microfinance Guarantee Program does not offer grants, and is not a direct loan program. The program is designed to provide loan guarantees to lenders that extend credit to small businesses in Florida. Enterprise Florida is suspending initial 2% fee to support Florida’s small business community. Visit Enterprise Florida to learn more and how to apply.

Main Street Lending Program

The Main Street Lending Program, a federal program, supports lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program will operate through three facilities: the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF), the Main Street Priority Loan Facility (MSPLF), and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF).

U.S. businesses may be eligible for loans if they meet either of the following conditions:

  • The business has 15,000 employees or fewer.
  • The business had 2019 revenues of $5 billion or less.

Loans issued under the Program would have a five-year maturity, deferral of principal payments for two years, and deferral of interest payments for one year.  To learn more about the program and how to apply, click here.

Financial Assistance for Displaced Workers

“Safer at Home” Executive Order

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, April 3, that “all persons in Florida shall limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.” The order will be in effect until April 30, but may be extended.

The order encourages individuals to work from home and “encourages businesses or organizations to provide delivery, carry-out or curbside service outside of the business or organization, of orders placed online or via telephone, to the greatest extent practicable.”

Many businesses are already following these strictures to protect their employees and customers.

What you need to do as a business owner:

  1. We encourage you to communicate the order to your employees and support their compliance as best you can.
  2. Review the executive order at the link below. It includes descriptions of essential services and activities.
  3. If your business qualifies as essential and you have essential employees, use the template letter provided by Manatee County Government (download) to prepare a letter your essential employees can show to authorities when they leave their homes for work.
Essential Worker guidelines

Employment Help

The Bradenton Area EDC has joined forces with other business organizations in Manatee and Sarasota counties to connect displaced workers with employers who need to fill staffing demands brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Employers can post jobs and workers can search for them at partner logos


Elizabeth Cordes


Contact Elizabeth Cordes

Business Development Manager

(941) 803-9033