Last night, the U.S. Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act , tripling the time allotted for small businesses and other PPP loan recipients to spend the funds and still qualify for forgiveness of the loans. The bill now goes to President Trump to sign. Here are the main changes:

  • PPP borrowers can choose to extend the eight-week period to 24 weeks, or they can keep the original eight-week period.

  • The payroll expenditure requirement drops to 60% (from the previous 75%), but borrowers must spend at least 60% on payroll or none of the loan will be forgiven.

  • Borrowers can use the 24-week period to restore their workforce levels and wages to the pre-pandemic levels required for full forgiveness. This must be done by Dec. 31, a change from the previous deadline of June 30. There are also two new additional exceptions allowing borrowers to achieve full forgiveness if they don't fully restore their workforce –adjustments are allowed if borrowers could not find qualified employees or were unable to restore business operations to Feb. 15, 2020 levels due to COVID-19 related operating restrictions.

  • Borrowers now have five years to repay the loan instead of two. The interest rate remains at 1%.

  • Businesses that took a PPP loan are also allowed to delay payment of their payroll taxes.
Yesterday, Gov. DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-139, i.e., "Phase Two" of Florida's Recovery Plan. This order takes effect tomorrow (Friday, June 5) unless restricted by local authorities. Among other provisions, this Order:

• encourages all to continue following the CDC and OSHA social distancing & safety protocols [wearing face masks, frequently washing hands, social distancing at least 6 feet apart, frequent employee screenings, frequent disinfection of surfaces, and proper ventilation];

• allows restaurants, bars and other establishments serving alcoholic beverages to operate at 50% of their indoor occupancy, and also operate their outdoor seating areas with appropriate social distancing;

• allows personal service businesses to operate with appropriate safety standards defined by the Dept. of Health.

• allows entertainment businesses to operate at 50% of building capacity with appropriate social distancing and sanitizing;

• discourages congregating in groups larger than 50

For the full Executive Order, click here .

While expanding operations, we urge you to please continue following safety standards for the health of the whole community.
Throughout June , don't forget to
celebrate Pride! Do what you can, whether it’s hanging rainbow flags or rainbow balloons, lighting up your business window with rainbow lights, wearing rainbow accessories, or offering Pride specials! And please let us know about your specials so we can promote them !
BIG THANKS to everyone who donated yesterday at our EDGE District Blood Drive! All 40 available appointments were filled , which means enough blood to save 120 lives ! BRAVO!
And sincere thanks to Ferg's for letting us hold the drive in their parking lot. Stay tuned, as we'll be hosting another blood drive in the future.
Are you following the Restart St. Pete protocol for safely reopening and operating your business during recovery?

Doing the Right Thing for Restart St. Pete means following all CDC & OSHA standards, and adhering to the latest government orders. In addition, restaurants should follow the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association guidelines (click here), making food safety, cleaning, sanitizing, and monitoring employee health and hygiene paramount. Retail businesses should follow the National Retail Federation’s guidelines (click here).

If YOUR business is Doing the Right Thing, you can display it proudly AND help rebuild consumer confidence. The City of St. Petersburg is now offering you these materials:

Restart St. Pete Window Decal for your storefront door or window for patrons to see when they enter your establishment.
Restart St. Pete Community Cards (business card size) that can be added to takeout and to go orders or with the check/receipt of a transaction.
Restart St. Pete Beverage Sleeves (12oz -24oz size) that can be used with takeout and to go beverage orders.

To request them for your business, click here .
In partnership with LocalShops1, we're helping to drive $1 million into our locally owned businesses via the Million Dollar Mission online marketplace (to see it,  click here). There are already 900 registered users, and sales have already reached $12,000. Any business can participate and post their goods or services for free . To participate, just email Ester at ester@localshops1.com.

 Many organizations, like ours, are helping to promote it and we ask you to promote it, too! For the LS1 press release, click here, and for the recent article about St. Petersburg City Council's resolution to support the Mission, click here .
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