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Citywide public health emergency extended through May 8

City eases some regulations to facilitate outdoor dining

Post Date:05/01/2020 3:12 PM

Contact:  Jason Bartolone, Communications Specialist   941-928-398


COVID_19_UpdateSarasota, FL:  The City of Sarasota has extended its declaration of a local citywide public health emergency through May 8 following a weekly review, as required by the City Charter, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order also relaxes certain provisions of the City’s zoning code to encourage and facilitate outdoor dining possibilities due to indoor occupancy restrictions.

The emergency order issued Friday by City Manager Tom Barwin, in consultation with Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch and City Attorney Robert Fournier, follows Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent statewide order limiting the indoor occupancy of restaurants to no more than 25 percent of their building occupancy. Allowing outdoor seating with appropriate social distancing may help restaurants and their patrons to slowly begin the recovery phase of the pandemic.

The City has already waived building permit fees for construction adaptations necessary to make them more compatible with new social distancing practices.

“Our staff has been proactive in looking into options for how we can help businesses reopen in a safe, simple and fast manner and begin the economic recovery,” Barwin said. “We’re taking action to streamline requirements now so that our small businesses can start preparing and will be ready to open next week while following social distancing guidelines.”

As part of Friday’s emergency order, the public is again very strongly urged to wear protective masks when leaving home to conduct essential activities, and to acquire protective masks if they have not already.

Although City buildings remain closed to the public, most City operations and services are still available. The public can conduct City business either online via or by phone at 941-263-6000.

Additional resources

Information and resources for businesses and employees, including Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans and other assistance programs, can be found on the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County’s webpage at

A Sarasota-specific call center for questions and concerns about COVID-19 is now available through the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County:  941-861-2883. Subject matter experts are available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The most current, official information on COVID-19 in Florida can be found at  A 24/7 hotline is also available:  1-866-779-6121.

For more information, contact Jason Bartolone, Communications Specialist:  941-928-3988.


About the City of Sarasota:  Distinguished by U.S. News and World Report as the 18th Best Place to Live in the U.S., the City of Sarasota is a diverse community located on Florida’s Suncoast with 56,000 year-round residents, several internationally recognized cultural arts venues, stunning sunsets along Lido Beach, a 45-hole municipal golf course at the historic Bobby Jones Golf Club, and Major League spring training baseball with the Baltimore Orioles.  Learn more about us at www.SarasotaFL.Gov

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