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Important UPDATES & information FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step.
Plan for Florida's Recovery.

On June 3rd, Governor DeSantis announced most of Florida has been cleared to enter Phase 2 of re-opening, effective Friday, June 5th.

Executive Order 20-139 (Enacting Full Phase 2, effective June 5)

The Re-Open Florida Task Force has published its report and recommendations, outlining all proposed phases of re-opening business activities across the state.

Click here to read the full report.

Resources for Your Business

CDC Interim Guidance for Business & Employers

Business Damage Assessment Survey (

SBA Disaster Loan Assistance

SBDC Small Bridge Loans

 OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

 SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Click here to view the PPP EZ Forgiveness Application.

Click here to view the Full PPP Forgiveness Application.

Job & Employment Resources -

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued its first round of implementation guidance pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA). This guidance provides fact sheets for both employers and employees as well as a Q&A regarding implementation.

 Employee Paid Leave Rights

 Employer Paid Leave Requirements

 Questions & Answers

Local & State Public Safety Information

Florida Department of Health

Manatee County

Sarasota County

The Power of Connection
Introducing our Community Forum 

It's time to let the strength of community shine. We've opened the Community Help Forum on our website to allow members in need a place to ask for help. Likewise, if you or your business can offer a resource, special offer or promotion to fellow members, we encourage you to share it there.


Our members continue to be source of inspiration during this time. The spirit of community amongst us is encouraging, and it shows that the only way we get through this, is together.


June 17, 2020

SBA and Treasury Announce New EZ and Revised Full Forgiveness Applications for the Paycheck Protection Program

Washington—Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 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 that applies to borrowers that:

  • Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
  • Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
  • Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.

The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers.  Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form.  

Both applications give borrowers the option of using the original 8-week covered period (if their loan was made before June 5, 2020) or an extended 24-week covered period.  These changes will result in a more efficient process and make it easier for businesses to realize full forgiveness of their PPP loan.  

Click here to view the EZ Forgiveness Application.

Click here to view the Full Forgiveness Application.

May 15, 2020

SBA and Treasury Release Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application

WASHINGTON — Today, the Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application.

The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.

The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including

  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
  • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30
  • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined

The PPP was created by the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to eligible small businesses to keep American workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The documents released today will help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans.

Click here to view the application and instructions.

April 30, 2020

Update from the LWRBA - Reopening Business Activity

Dear Members,

"Be Prepared." Upon hearing the Boy Scout motto, someone asked Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell the inevitable follow-up question. “Prepared for what?” “Why, for any old thing,” he replied.

This is the kind of advice we need to think about every day. Our region had been on a straight upward trajectory. Almost every economist for the past year had said we had a runway for continued growth. While they mentioned political unrest internationally or a pending election here in the United States, no one mentioned the expectation that the corona virus would cause so much distress worldwide. As we have in the past, we will overcome this hurdle and be much stronger as a region and community.

One can see the outpouring of humanity within our region by reviewing the 2020 Giving Challenge Results as of this morning. Amid a pandemic, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County raised $18,432,471. This commitment was broad and included donations from 58,947 donors in support of 687 separate non-profit organizations in a 24 hour period. If this does not show what our region can do, then what does?

As we emerge from our stay at home order, if only for a small Phase 1 change, we need to be sure to continue to look for obstacles just below the surface. Please talk to your advisors! (accounting, financial, legal, insurance, real estate and investments,) Understand your cash flow! Do you have an 8 week or 12 week rolling cash flow? If not, now is the time to start one. Although it is a great tool while business is good and revenues are growing, it is even better when tightening occurs. Your professionals are waiting for your call. Call them. Or let us know at the Alliance if you need an introduction to certain support functions. As our members, please know, the Alliance stands ready to reconnect, continue to enlighten on relevant topics and assist your business with renewed growth.

We are grateful to each and every one of you for the loyalty and support of LWRBA and each other! Remember to Buy local, Stay local and Play local as we stay safe together!


Dom DiMaio
LWRBA President / CEO

April 29, 2020

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Provides Reemployment Assistance Update - April 29

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) issued reemployment assistance updates on the Reemployment Assistance (RA) Claims Dashboard. As of April 28, DEO has verified 835,290 unique claims and paid 404,317 claimants a total of more than $553.5 million.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance:

  • The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provides unemployment benefits to those that may not otherwise be eligible under Florida’s state Reemployment Assistance program, including independent contractors and individuals who are self-employed. Individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 and believe they may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, can visit and select "File a Claim" to apply and be considered for PUA. 
  • Applicants should utilize the following criteria when applying for PUA:
    • Individuals who applied for the state’s Reemployment Assistance benefits on or after April 5,2020, and were deemed ineligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits will receive additional application information from the Department. They can also visit for more information regarding these programs.
    • Those who are self-employed, contract employees, gig workers, or others who applied for the state’s Reemployment Assistance benefits on or before April 4, 2020, should apply at and select “File a Claim” to request PUA.
    • Unemployed Floridians who have not yet applied for any benefit should apply at and will be considered for all existing programs, including PUA.  


DEO will be conducting nightly maintenance to the CONNECT system to process claims and payments. CONNECT will be available from 8 a.m. to 7:59 p.m. daily. This schedule does not affect individuals that wish to file a new claim. Individuals can file a new claim 24 hours a day, seven days per week at and select "File a Claim."


DEO has a mobile-friendly online application for individuals filing a new Reemployment Assistance claim available here. For a step by step guide on how to apply read more here. For the Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide which includes frequently asked questions, please click here. For additional information about Reemployment Assistance benefits visit

About DEO

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit

April 9, 2020

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Announces New Mobile-Friendly Site to Apply for Reemployment AssistancE

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced a new, mobile-friendly online application for Reemployment Assistance available at

“The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is committed to ensuring Floridians are able to receive the benefits owed to them during this global pandemic,” said Ken Lawson, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “The team is working around the clock to make the process for applying for Reemployment Assistance as easy as possible for Floridians.”

Floridians who do not have a current open Reemployment Assistance claim should complete their application online at

To utilize the user-friendly online Reemployment Assistance application or to download the paper Reemployment Assistance application, Floridians should visit If a Floridian chooses to submit a paper application for Reemployment Assistance benefits, they should mail their application to DEO, and a representative will call when their application is processed. 

Any Floridian who has lost their job due to COVID-19, is encouraged to complete a Reemployment Assistance application. The following are the steps needed to complete an application online or by mail.

Step 1 – Collect all information needed to complete the Reemployment Application.

You will need the following information to submit an application for Reemployment Assistance benefits. You are encouraged to collect the following documents and information before beginning the application process.

  • Social Security number 
  • Driver’s License or State ID number 
  • Employment information for the last 18 months for each employer: 
  • Employer ID - FEIN number (this is found on your W2 or 1099 tax form), if available 
  • Employer name (name on pay stub), address, and phone number  
  • First and last day of work 
  • Gross earnings (before taxes are taken out) covering the last 18 months 
  • Reason for separation 

If you are one of the following, make sure you have this additional information available: 

  • Not a U.S. Citizen: Alien Registration Number or other work authorization form 
  • Military employee: Copy of your DD-214 Member 4; If you do not have the Member 4, then a copy of your Member 2-7 may be used
  • Federal employee: SF-8 or SF-50 
  • Union member: Union name, hall number, and phone number

Step 2 – Submit your Reemployment Assistance application.

You can apply online at or print an application for Reemployment Assistance at Paper applications may take longer to process than completing an online application. 

Paper applications can be mailed to:

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity 

P.O. Box 5350 

Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350 

CareerSource locations across the state are available to assist with completing and submitting your online application. They are also available to provide paper applications. Visit for center locations.  

FedEx is also offering Floridians the option to print and mail applications for Reemployment Assistance at locations throughout the state free of charge. Visit to find a participating location near you.  

Step 3 – Receive your Reemployment Assistance application confirmation.

If you mail your Reemployment Assistance application to DEO, a representative will contact you after your application is processed.

A written determination will be provided electronically and/or by mail to explain if you are monetarily eligible, and if you are, what your weekly benefit amount will be.

For more information about Reemployment Assistance benefits and how to apply, visit DEO’s mobile-friendly site


April 1, 2020

Governor DeSantis Issues Statewide Stay-at-Home Order

As we continue to track legislative and regulatory developments that impact our local businesses, communities and way of living, we are trying to be mindful of how often we are communicating. However, we felt this communication was especially necessary and timely.

Governor DeSantis Issues Statewide Stay-at-Home Order
Executive Order No. 20-91 (Essential Services and Activities During COVID-19 Emergency)

As usual, the LWRBA stands by ready to help businesses and their teams with connections and educational resources to continue business activity virtually to the greatest extent possible.

As we continue into this crisis, we would like to thank our area hospitals and many healthcare professionals for their time, dedication and un-wavering support. We will get through this eventually and be a much stronger community. Until then, thank you all for continuing to socially distance and obey our stay at home order. Stay well and home, when possible.


The LWRBA Team


    March 31, 2020

    Update from the LWRBA: CARES Act

    Dear Alliance Members:

    As you have heard, Congress approved the Senate bill and President Trump signed the Cares Act, a $2.2 Trillion stimulus, meant to ease the financial burden brought onto individuals and businesses by the Covid-19 crisis. Although the stimulus bill was just signed into law by President Trump on March 27, many of the provisions are broadly defined to provide financial support, debt-relief options for individuals as well as financial support and debt packages and grants businesses. In some cases, this package is in addition to the loans that were already made available and on the Alliance website. As I must place a disclaimer having read and restating some portions of this new legislation. As legislation makes it to practicality, some portions remain up for interpretation. Therefore, please confirm with your BankTax Attorney, or CPA for further guidance. The links to Alliance members were embedded, but, by no means does that prevent you from contacting your current advisor(s). I would highly recommend you talk to your advisor.

    This stimulus comes at a much-needed time when record numbers of Americans have filed for unemployment, many businesses have been either mandated to close or closed on their own due to decreased business traffic. The Bill has been designed to ease some carrying burden, provide support for loss of revenue and stimulus to steady the American economy. 

    The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance has business members of all sizes. However, most are small businesses and will likely feel the impact of this health crisis for the near term and years to come. It has reshaped our connection to each other, at least momentarily. I have seen most of the business support organizations, ie. County Economic Development Offices, local Economic Development Offices, local chamber of commerce and builder support groups scramble to provide information around what to do. More importantly, most have come together to provide comfort, a shoulder to lean on (virtually of course) and connection to resources. 

    I hope to add to the continued knowledge here today. Here are a few of the highlights taken directly from the Cares Act:

    Support for Individuals

    • SEC. 2101. 2020 RECOVERY REBATES - Individuals should qualify for a $1,200 check if (2018-2019) income is equal/less than $75,000 and a married couple should qualify for a $2,400 check if (2018-2019) income is equal/less than $150,000. Both will have a downward sliding scale as individual/couples make more than the threshold. Additionally, there will be an additional $500 per child.  

    • Unemployment benefits will increase by $600 for a period of time and standard benefits will carry an extended time. Additionally, it is normally difficult for freelance/gig workers receiving 1099’s to qualify for UE. This Act includes language that will allow some of them to qualify.

    • SEC. 2103. SPECIAL RULES FOR USE OF RETIREMENT FUNDS – The Act states that distributions necessary due to the covid-19 virus may be taken up to $100,000 without a 10% penalty. The withdraw is still subject to regular income tax treatment. Tax professional should be conferred. It reads like you have 3 years to spread payment of the tax liability on the distribution or repay the distribution without tax.Loans From Qualified Plans – There has been an increase to the loan size from a qualified employer plan from $50,000 to $100,000. 
      • Loans From Qualified Plans – There has been an increase to the loan size from a qualified employer plan from $50,000 to $100,000. 
    • SEC. 2105. Modification of limitations on charitable contributions during 2020. Charitable deductions will have limits increased. Additionally, treatment of deduction will change as well. This could allow some donors to increase support throughout 2020.

    Support for Businesses
    • SEC. 1102. 7(a) LOAN PROGRAM.  IN GENERAL.—During the covered period, any business concern, private nonprofit organization, or public nonprofit organization which employs not more than 500 employees shall be eligible to receive a loan made under section 7(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 636(a)), in addition to small business concerns. In some cases, a portion of the loans could be forgiven when the company adheres to certain conditions.
      • IN GENERAL.—During the covered period, a recipient of a loan made under section 7(a) of the Small Business Act may, in addition to the allowable uses of such a loan, use the proceeds of the loan for—
        • (A)  payroll support, including paid sick, medical, or family leave, and costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during those periods of leave;
        • (B)  employee salaries;
        • (C)  mortgage payments;
        • (D)  rent (including rent under a lease agreement);
        • (E)   utilities; and
        • (F)   any other debt obligations that were incurred before the covered period.

    In addition, the bill aids with our overburdened hospital systems, FEMA and our food stamps. Along with the bill, on March 22, 2020 the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve issued an interagency statement on Loan Modifications and Reporting for Financial Institutions. The agencies encourage financial institutions to work prudently with borrowers who are or maybe unable to meet their contractual payment obligations because of the effects of COVID-19

    As always, your team at the LWRBA is here to support you. We are working behind the scenes to change programming and connection throughout this trying time. Please reach out to anyone of us with your questions. We stand ready to fight harder than ever to connect, educate and grow our region! Stay safe!


    Dom DiMaio
    LWRBA President/CEO

    March 26, 2020

    Bradenton Area Convention & Visitor's Bureau
    Tourism Industry Survey

    Industry Partners:

    We understand you are being pulled in many directions and that your time is precious. However, we would greatly appreciate receiving important feedback from you that will enable the BACVB to better support all industry partners during this time of adversity and beyond.

    For those of you that don't have a Google account or wasn't able to access the previous survey link, we’ve created a survey in another program. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS IT.

    The most important information we are hoping to collect includes: 

    • Specific questions you may have for the BACVB, which will be answered as quickly as possible 
    • Information and ideas to support our destination social media efforts
    • What you would like to see added to our Partner and Visitor Landing Pages
    • Any ideas for how we can better support you

    Thank you, as always, for your time and attention. We look forward to hearing from you and continuing to provide the support you need and deserve.

    Take care and stay safe.

    Elliott Falcione

    March 18, 2020

    SBA Disaster Assistance Available for Florida Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus

    Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that small businesses located in the State of Florida adversely impacted by COVID-19 can now apply for disaster loans.

    For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA is offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the Coronavirus
    All 67 Florida counties are included in the disaster declaration for Coronavirus.

    “I am encouraging all small businesses located in Florida to visit the SBA Disaster Assistance website and submit your application today,” said SBA South Florida District Director Victoria Guerrero. “While there, you will find information on how to contact our customer service team who can answer any disaster-related application questions. You can also reach out to one of our many resource partners for application assistance.”

    SBA Resource Partners information can be obtained on the SBA website at

    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 percent 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.

    To apply, visit the SBA Disaster website at

    For additional information, please contact the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail

    March 17, 2020

    SBDC SMALL BRIDGE LOANS Available for small businesses

    Governor DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, managed by Florida Department of Opportunity, to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19 with short-term, interest-free loans.

    The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19.

    These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.

    Applications can be submitted from March 17 through May 8.

    Please review eligibility & loan process at

    For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, please contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network Headquarters. Email:  Phone toll-free: (866) 737-7232.

    March 16, 2020

    Update from the lwrba board and staff

    Dear LWRBA Members,

    Embedded within the LWRBA Mission is the priority to help maintain the safety and wellbeing of our members.  With the coronavirus changing the business landscape as we know it, we understand that multiple messages and news updates are flooding your inbox. Please know, we aim to be a resource for you and your business as you navigate this unique time. As such, the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and Alliance Staff want to communicate the following items:

    CDC Interim Guidance: Proactive measures, as best described, by the CDC can be found on the CDC Website. It is a good source of information and strategy. On Sunday, March 15, 2020, The CDC updated guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommending that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people. The CDC will continue to update this interim guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available.

    Business Damage Assessment Survey: Governor Ron DeSantis announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin.

    We encourage you to complete the short online survey here.

    Small Business Administration - Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program: The SBA ( will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

    LWRBA Event Status*

     Thursday, March 19
     ACES: Swing into Spring with Dancing on the Suncoast
     Wednesday, March 25
     Luncheon: Senate President Bill Galvano
     Thursday, March 26
     YLA Social at Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club
     Thursday, March 26
     Lunch with Ranchers at EVEN Hotels
     Friday, March 27
     New Member Orientation
     Wednesday, April 1
     Networking Social at Grand Living
     Monday, April 6
     Joint Event with ACG at Gold Coast Eagle
     Wednesday, April 8
     Alliance LEADS: Your Voice. Your Vote.

    * We will be continuing daily monitoring to assess continued risk

    As this is a very fluid circumstance, please be on the lookout for updated communications as we receive information from government agencies that provide further guidance and resources. We thank you, in advance, for putting your trust in the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance.

    8430 Enterprise Circle, STE 140
    Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

    941-757-1664 |

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