The City of Winter Garden is currently monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak within our community. Businesses are currently following CDC Guidelines.
ORANGE COUNTY GOVERNMENT URGES BUSINESSES TO DISPLAY SIGNS RECOMMENDING MASKS
Per Executive Executive Order 2021-24 issued on July 28, 2021, Mayor Jerry L. Demings urges businesses to display signs recommending all patrons (vaccinated and unvaccinated) wear a mask when indoors.
U.S. Small Business Administration COVID-19 Relief Options
The SBA established a number of programs to help businesses in response to losses incurred from the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs are Paycheck Protection Program, COVID-19 Targeted EIDL Advance, Restaurant Revitalization Fund, Stuttered Venues Grant, and SBA Debt Relief. For further information about each of these programs including eligibility requirements, click here.
Visit Cross-Program Eligibility for a reference chart of criteria when considering multiple funding options.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP)
On May 6, 2021, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that it will only accept new PPP loan applications from community financial institutions. PPP funding for loans originated by lenders other than community financial institutions has been exhausted. The Economic Aid Act set aside $15 billion for loans originated by community financial institutions. The SBA will continue to accept applications for loans submitted by community financial institutions until MAY 31, 2021, or until remaining funds are exhausted.
For more information and how to apply, visit U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
Eligible entities who have experienced pandemic-related revenue loss include:
- Food stands, food trucks, food carts
- Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
- Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
- Bakeries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Breweries and/or microbreweries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Wineries and distilleries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Inns (onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products
For more information and to apply, click here.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.
Eligible entities include:
- Live venue operators or promoters
- Theatrical producers
- Live performing arts organization operators
- Museum operators
- Motion picture theater operators (including owners)
- Talent representatives
Other requirements of note:
- Must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020
- Venue or promoter who received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020, will have the SVOG reduced by the PPP loan amount
For more information and to apply for this grant, click here.
COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
This loan provides economic relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. These 30-year loans have a fixed interest rate of 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits.
To learn more and apply, click here.
SBA Debt Relief
SBA offers debt relief to existing SBA loan borrowers whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19. For a list of qualifying SBA loans, visit SBA Debt Relief.
Governor’s Executive Order Eliminates all COVID-19 Restrictions and Mandates
On May 3, 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis, issued Executive Order 21-102 eliminating all local COVID-19 restrictions and mandates on individuals and businesses, effective immediately. This Executive Order supersedes any existing emergency order or ordinance issued by a county or municipality that imposes restrictions or mandates upon businesses or individuals due to the COVID-19 emergency.
Governor's Executive Order opens all Businesses to 100% Capacity
The Governor signed a executive order on September 25, 2020, lifting all previous executive orders he had signed allowing all businesses to operate at capacity.
Workplace Health & Safety
The City of Winter Garden recommends that all businesses and employees continue to follow the CDC Guidelines for Workplaces and Businesses to keep staff and customers safe.
Florida’s Plan for Recovery
The Governor’s State Plan for reopening the state can be found here. Florida began Phase 3 on September 25, 2020. All businesses are currently operating at 100% capacity.
Outdoor Dining and Curbside Program
The City of Winter Garden implemented a Curbside and Outdoor Dining Program for Downtown Winter Garden in April 2020. This program has been very well received and continues today. Since implementing the Downtown Program, the City of Winter Garden has worked with restaurants outside of Downtown to establish outdoor dining areas.
Each year, the months of May and October are declared Outdoor Dining Month in Winter Garden and the vast availability of outdoor dining patios are promoted as a safe way for our community to support local restaurants.
The City of Winter Garden launched a “Living Local” campaign in September 2021 to build awareness of the area’s attributes and special events as well as the importance of supporting small businesses. The Living Local campaign follows the “Love Local” campaign that ran from September 2020-August 2021 to support local businesses and community organizations to assist with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The intent of the “Living Local” campaign is to encourage exploring the community’s cultural and recreational facilities; patronizing locally owned and operated businesses; buying locally produced goods; taking part in classes, programs, and/or sports leagues offered by the City Parks & Recreation Department; supporting local charitable organizations, attending city government meetings and volunteering to serve on its committees and boards; and, of course, partaking in special events that provide a sense a community and create memorable moments.
A number of events and initiatives are planned for the remainder of 2021 to provide “Living Local” opportunities, including the following:
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in Winter Garden with a variety of cultural and entertainment options to honor the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans. The weekly Farmers Market is hosting an authentic flamenco performance and complimentary Día de los Muertos art class and has a designated section featuring Hispanic and Latino cuisine and merchandise. There will be mariachi and flamenco performances at select Fridays on the Plaza nights in the center of downtown, Mexican art classes at SOBO Art Gallery, showings of Man of La Mancha at the Garden Theatre, as well as virtual events hosted by the Winter Garden Library, and more. The national holiday can also be observed by visiting the many Hispanic- and Latino-owned restaurants throughout the city. Click here for a list of events and ways to celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month in Winter Garden..
The City of Winter Garden proclaims October as Outdoor Dining Month! The refreshing weather is ideal for dining al fresco at the multitude of restaurant patios available in all corridors of the city. In addition, the expansive dining patios in Downtown Winter Garden not only provide a close-up view of the historic charm, but also of the festive Halloween Experience (October 22-31). Fall is also the perfect time for an outdoor picnic so make it easy by ordering take-out from your favorite local restaurant as you head to one of the city’s nature parks.
For 13 years, the nationally award-wining Winter Garden Farmers Market has served as a communal meeting place to enjoy the harvests of local farmers and the crafts of local artisans. On Saturday, October 9, the Farmers Market will expand to more than 100 vendors offering a diverse variety of foods and merchandise in addition to weekly family games on the lawn, a designated kids’ zone with child-oriented food and goods, as well as an arts market showcasing local artists. The date also marks the return of weekly live music. A visit to the community Farmers Market exemplifies Living Local.
Why celebrate Halloween on one day when the fun can last 10 days! The City’s Halloween Experience, October 22-31, provides family-friendly festivities throughout downtown. Activities include outdoor animated Halloween Light Shows on City Hall as well as live music, shows, and pop-up street performers on Friday/Saturday/Sunday evenings; an outdoor moonlight movie showing of Monster University; a hay maze; holiday-themed photo locations; decorations and light displays; merchant themed decorations and food items; a Harvest Sidewalk Sale & Stroll (Oct. 23), a spooky caboose, Halloween movies at the Garden Theatre, fall themed Farmers Market, and more!
Shop the outdoor racks of sale and fall merchandise while enjoying the Halloween Experience decorations and festivities. It is a great time to purchase for the new season while getting a head start on holiday shopping. The unique shops of downtown feature apparel, jewelry, home décor and greenery, cycling/running/sporting equipment and accessories, gourmet foods, health and beauty products, pet supplies, furniture, and much more. In addition, a number of downtown restaurants will feature seasonal menus and promotions to enjoy while dining at the outdoor patios surrounded by Halloween nirvana.
In celebration of Winter Garden’s founding this month 118 years ago, the City of Winter Garden and the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation will host a daylong celebration of the community’s historic roots with old-fashioned family fun. Exhibits and activities will provide an opportunity to learn about the City’s history, play family-friendly games, listen to live music (three stages), enjoy special treats, and watch some baseball. Learn how agriculture along with the railroad, Lake Apopka, and baseball were a big part of Winter Garden’s history. Take a trip back in time and learn about a community that came together to be known as Winter Garden.
Enjoy family fun games, fitness and cooking classes, and much more at the annual Health & Harvest Festival as an expansion of the Winter Garden Farmers Market. Hosted by Healthy West Orange, activities are complimentary and include health screenings, CPR classes, bike safety checks; nutrition, health and fitness classes, giant-sized yard games, hay maze, live DJ, and other seasonal-related fun. For more information, click here.
The City declares the month of November as Living Local Month to promote the importance of shopping, dining, and supporting independently owned local businesses as they continue to recover from financial losses due to the pandemic. In fact, shopping local bolsters the local economy since for every $100 spent at locally owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community, whereas, only $43 remains in the community when shopping at a national chain, according to the Independent We Stand organization. In addition, a robust holiday event season launches this month providing the opportunity to enjoy one's hometown and make memories.
Seasonal shopping kick-off in celebration of nationally celebrated Small Business Saturday. Besides special sales at retail stores throughout Winter Garden, Downtown Winter Garden will host a Sidewalk Sale with special offers and promotions amidst the backdrop of historic charm and festive winter wonderland decorations.
Downtown Winter Garden transforms into a winter wonderland with all the holiday trimmings for family fun all month long! Highlights include nine nights of the animated “A Very Merry Winer Garden Light Show” projected onto Winter Garden City Hall, variety shows on select Friday and Saturday evenings, 14 nights of horse-drawn holiday carriage tours, holiday-themed Farmers Market, live holiday music at select Fridays on the Plaza, Dickens carolers, outdoor holiday movie for the community, holiday movie showings at the Garden Theatre, festive decorations and light displays, holiday themed photo locations, and more! It's Tis the Season to make memories! For event schedule and additional holiday information, click here.
Holiday shopping at its finest with a stroll of the boutiques of Downtown Winter Garden to find unique presents while enjoying light refreshments, raffles, outdoor/indoor specials and promotions. The festively decorated stores and downtown area make it a perfect evening for gift buying.
The City of Winter Garden will continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak within the community and reserves the right to cancel any activities that are not in the best interest of the public health, safety, and welfare of its citizens.
Other Business Resources
Small Business Development Center - Click here
West Orange Chamber of Commerce - Click here
Orlando Economic Partnership - Click here for regional business resources
Should you need assistance, please call Tanja Gerhartz 407.947.1720
Please be safe and stay strong Winter Garden!
For information on Orange County's Vaccine Distribution Locations visit ocfl.net/vaccine.