Executive Order 20-71, announced yesterday:

• Suspends all on -premises food consumption at restaurants and food establishments in Florida, but still allows preparation of food for delivery and take-out;

• Suspends all on -premises alcohol consumption at all establishments in Florida licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on-premises, but allows such establishments to sell alcohol in sealed containers * for consumption off-premises as long as certain conditions are met, including
  • if the establishment is a restaurant licensed to sell alcohol, they may only sell sealed containers of alcohol in take-out or delivery if accompanied by sale of food in the same order;
  • if the sealed containers of alcohol are being delivered, that delivery must comply with Florida Statutes §561.57 (click here);

• Closes all fitness clubs and gyms, except those in hotels with 10-person or less capacity, in fire or police stations, in single-occupant office buildings, or as amenity in residential buildings.

* We received clarification from the FL Div. of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco that "sealed" means sealed bottles of beer (including growlers) or sealed bottles of wine or sealed liquor bottles. Selling mixed drinks or drinks in To-Go cups or personal cups is prohibited. The expectation is that the customer purchases it to go home and drink, not in the car or on the street.

For the full language of the Exec. Order, click here .

-------------------------------------------- ### ----------------------------------------------

As we've reported in our earlier emails, there are two types of emergency business loans being offered:
(1) Small Business Bridge Loans (for small businesses with 2–100 employees, 1-yr term, up to $50,000.00, no interest ) ;
(2) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (for small businesses without available credit elsewhere; up to 30-yr term, up to $2 million, starts at 3.75% interest (or 2.75% for nonprofits).

Everyone is encouraged to apply ASAP – just click on the name of the loan above. The system is being overwhelmed with claims, so it may be slow. Try at times less likely visited (very early morning, very late at night), or you can submit your claim by U.S. mail to:
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, 107 E. Madison Street, MSC-160, Tallahassee, Florida, 32399-4120

Our regional SBA contact for questions is at (813) 905-5800.

-------------------------------------------- ### ----------------------------------------------

As we reported in our earlier emails, your employees who have been laid off or cannot work due to the COVID crisis are encouraged to apply for unemployment immediately to avoid delays in receiving assistance. Please relay these links to them:

• Secondly, if ineligible for Reemployment Assistance, apply for

-------------------------------------------- ### ----------------------------------------------


Stay connected with your customers
Most of you are doing a great job of this, sending emails, updating your website, and using social media. For those that need to boost your social media presence, here are just a few basic tips:
  • Post photos and videos about your business, products or services consistently and regularly.
  • Use a consistent look and feel. However, don't reuse the same images, as readers will quickly ignore what they have already seen.
  • Be authentic, and highlight what makes your business unique and special.
  • Engage viewers by acknowledging their comments, asking for their input, or having quizzes or contests.
  • Consider creating and scheduling posts a week at a time. (Use the "schedule post" feature to set the date and time.)

We also recommend using Live platforms ( live videos and stories on Facebook and Instagram) to:
  • Let your customers know how you're doing and how you're keeping your premises and products safe;
  • Host virtual events, like store tours, gallery tours, new product installation, product demos, fashion shows, or happy hours;
  • Answer customer inquiries or highlight interesting behind-the-scenes details about your business and your employees
To learn more about going Live on Facebook, click here , and on Instagram, click here .

You can also use Smart WiFi to send real-time email, SMS, and campaigns to connect with your customers. To learn more, click here .

Finally, during this time of social distancing, personal outreach is even more important. So we'd suggest staying connected with your customers by actually calling them to check in.

• Enhance your response messaging experience
This is an important time to be responsive to your customers, which means:
  • providing timely responses
  • adding virtual services and video chats to answer questions
  • set automated responses, and special away-messages with an FAQ that responds to the most common questions they may have.

• Build your online shopping or service experience
If you do not currently offer online shopping, we strongly recommend you create an online product catalog to showcase your items, fulfill orders and receive payouts. If you are a service provider, consider adding online appointment booking and video calls. If you'd like an easy and effective way to increase your online presence, you can use Facebook Marketplace ( click here) to sell your products and services.

• Stay connected with your employees
Last but certainly not least, of course it's very important to stay connected with your employees during this period. Along with calling, texting, and emailing them, consider:
  • Using Workplace from Facebook as a hub to post important announcements, coordinate responses and provide your employees with any support they may need.
  • Holding virtual meetings with services like Slack, Zoom, GoToMeeting, and freeconferencecall.com, just to name a few.

For an ongoing list of our updates about COVID-19, please see our website at edgedistrict.org.