ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced Monday that he will allow small businesses to expand operational space as most of Florida enters phase one of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our local businesses provide a livelihood for our residents and are the heart of everything we do as a community, and today, we are proud to say we have heard from our businesses and are putting into action immediate changes to our city code to help them open and operate safely,” Dyer said. “Because of the responsibility of our businesses, our residents, our entire community, we are now on the path to reopening.”
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Effective immediately, retail stores and restaurants will be able to temporarily expand their operational space and market their businesses outside, without the need to obtain city permits or pay any fees.
The announcement included what the mayor called a “package of opportunities” that would allow businesses to advance their operations as the state slowly inches toward a restored economy.
The 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 12’ x 12’ 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
While businesses can begin taking advantage of the majority of the opportunities effective immediately, the ability to expand operations into a public right-of-way and the downtown parking program will be considered by the City Council on next Monday.
The City Council will also vote to suspend the need to obtain any permits or pay any fees in order to take advantage of these new programs, Dyer said.
All programs will be available to businesses until September 1.
As business in Orlando take advantage of these expanded guidelines, Dyer said Orlando Health launched a website where businesses can get specific health and safety advice. The site can be accessed at OrlandoHealth.com/businessready.
“The first week of May is typically National Small Business Week, that has been proclaimed for more than 50 years, as a time to recognize the many contributions that small businesses make in the country,” Dyer said. “This year, [the] National Small Business Administration made the decision to postpone the week, but here in Orlando, rather than postponing, we will continue to recognize our small business week and remind our community why this year, more than ever, it’s critical to celebrate the impact and value of small businesses here in Orlando.”
Dyer reiterated the importance of residents remaining vigilant as they begin to venture outside as COVID-19 cases continue to mount.
“Just because you can leave home doesn’t mean you have to,” Dyer said. “We must maintain physical distancing, good hygiene, wash your hands, wear a face covering. Together we will continue on this methodical path to our new normal, and ensure that the new path protects the health and wellbeing of our residents.”