Reopening Escarosa: Business, Industry, and Economic Stabilization COVID-19 Reopening Information

Updated May 11, 2020

Working Group Executive Committee Organizations:

  • Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce
  • Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce
  • FloridaWest EDA
  • Santa Rosa County Economic Development
  • Visit Pensacola
  • Santa Rosa County Tourism
  • Escambia County
  • Santa Rosa County
  • City of Pensacola
  • City of Gulf Breeze
  • City of Milton

Working Group Support Organizations:

  • UWF Small Business Development Center
  • Gulf Coast Minority Chamber of Commerce
  • Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce
  • Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Century Chamber of Commerce
  • Santa Rosa County Chambers
  • Escambia County Direct Marketers Organization (DMO)
  • First Place Partners
  • West Florida Regional Planning Council
  • CareerSource EscaRosa
  • Homebuilders Association of West Florida
  • Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA)
  • Downtown Improvement Board (DIB)
  • Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital
  • Baptist Hospital
  • West Florida Hospital
  • Others TBD as identified

Reopening EscaRosa Strategic Plan Committees

Reopening Tourism/Hotels Committee:

Visit Pensacola, Escambia County DMO, FRLA, Santa Rosa Tourism, FRLA

Reopening Restaurants Committee:

Visit Pensacola, FRLA, Santa Rosa Tourism

Reopening Retail Committee:

City of Pensacola, Escambia County, Chambers of Commerce, DIB

Reopening Entrepreneurship Committee:

The Spring, UWF Center for Entrepreneurship, PSC Business Development and Entrepreneurship, Studer Community Institute

Reopening Manufacturing Committee:

FloridaWest, First Place Partners, Santa Rosa County EDC

Supply Chain Committee:

FloridaWest, First Place Partners, Santa Rosa County EDC

Reopening Construction Committee:

Homebuilders Assn. of West Florida, First Place Partners

Underserved Communities Committee:

Chambers, City of Pensacola, Escambia County, United Way

Reemployment/Workforce/Education Committee:

CareerSource EscaRosa, FloridaWest, First Place Partners, Escambia County Schools, PSC, UWF, Early Learning Coalition

Health Care Committee:

Baptist Heath Care, Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital, West Florida Hospital, Santa Rosa Medical Center, Community Health of Northwest Florida, Directors of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County and Santa Rosa counties to provide guidance to the various components of the plan.

Volunteers and Social Service:

ESF 18 will coordinate with ESF 15 (Volunteers and Donations) led by Greg Strader, CEO of BRACE and Laura Gilliam, the President/CEO of the United Way of West Florida for assistance and coordination of efforts.



Strategy and Tactics

Each committee will work on their industry plan and then allow the health care providers to review and ensure that we are progressing safely.

The final document will be a compilation of each committee’s work product.

While our plan will contain much of what is recommended by Governor DeSantis’ Reopening Florida Task Force, there may be unique local issues that we will need to address.

This plan will provide our policymakers and the business community a solid foundation to begin reopening our economy.

This will be an ongoing process that will require adjustment as conditions evolve.


Table of Contents:

Executive Summary

Public Testing for COVID-19

General Health Guidelines

Reopening Hotels/Tourism

Reopening Restaurants

Reopening Retail Establishments

Reopening Manufacturing and Supply Chains

Reopening Entrepreneurism

Reopening Construction

Helping Underserved Communities

Reemployment/Workforce/Education Committee

Health Care Committee

Volunteers and Social Service

Florida Business COVID-19 Resources

Escambia and Santa Rosa County Business COVID-19 Resources


Executive Summary

As our community begins the reopening and recovery efforts from the impacts of COVID-19, a myriad of local organizations are focused on providing data and guidance as we look at resetting our economy.  In this document you will find the initial work product from this working group.

Many of these recommendations and the supporting data in this plan are directly from Governor Ron DeSantis’ Phase One Reopening Florida plan released on April 29th Executive Order 20-112.  The working group believes that having the business community aligned with state and local officials is essential to minimize potential confusion and stand as a united front as we safely reset our economy.

The purpose of this document is to provide the public, the business community, workers, and policymakers a framework and resource that contains accurate information and is supported by reliable data.  It is also essential that the activities recommended in this document are deemed safe to avoid a spike in COVID-19 cases in the coming months.  All of these actions need to be complemented by residents and visitors monitoring conditions and taking individual recommended precautions.

This document will evolve as our community advances through this economic recovery.  We will update this plan with the latest data and information to ensure that the business community is informed about the latest developments and programs and the community at-large has the latest pertinent information.

Public Testing for COVID-19

Below is information about public testing for COVID-19.

Centers for Disease Control Guidelines for Testing state that these symptoms may appear in 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pains
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Escambia County

Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart: Persons who wish to get tested must first call 850-746-2684. The call center is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Baptist Health Care: Call the screening center at 850-434-4080 to determine if you need an appointment. Online assessment screenings are also available via or text “Screen” to 850-318-3080. The online assessment screening is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Existing Baptist patients can also call their primary care provider with any questions or concerns they may have.

Community Health Northwest Florida will continue to offer mobile testing at sites throughout Escambia County for residents during May 2020. Pre-screening will not be required for these mobile testing sites. More information on locations will be provided as the mobile testing schedule is confirmed. If you don't have a healthcare provider or health insurance, call, do not visit, Community Health Northwest Florida at 850-436-4630.

Locations and times for testing sites vary.  Please check for updated test sites and times.

A mobile testing site at the University of West Florida will be open to the public on Saturday, May 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The UWF test site will be open seven days a week for two weeks. The drive-through test site is located at the SP2 parking lot, which is on the east side of campus, near the East Sports Complex. Individuals are asked to remain in their vehicles, and pre-screening is not required.

Ascension Sacred Heart has opened a drive-through respiratory clinic located at 4521 N. Davis Hwy for patients who have previously tested positive with COVID-19 and would like to return to work.

Patients should call the COVID hotline to make an appointment for a follow up exam to return to work. At the respiratory drive-through clinic, a physician will fully examine the patient while in the vehicle. The physician may choose to re-test the patient or give the patient a letter with a recommendation to return-to-work based on the non-test-based evaluation.

The hours of the drive through clinic are Monday through Friday 10am - 5pm

U.S. Military veterans who believe they may have contracted the Coronavirus may contact the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ VISN 8 Clinical 24/7 Contact Center by phone at 1-877-741-3400.

Santa Rosa County

Drive-through COVID testing sites are being set up throughout the county, no pre-screening is required. If you do not live in one of the areas listed below, other locations are being set up in the county soon. Details will be made available via this news release. Testing dates and times for the locations below rotate, so please contact the Department of Health (850-564-2307) for which site is operating that day.

Milton Community Center, 5629 Byrom St. (minimum of 100 tests)

Chumuckla Elementary, 2312 County Rd. 182 in Jay (minimum of 100 tests)

Southern Raceway, 9359 Nichols Lake Rd. in East Milton (minimum of 100 tests)

Jay Community Center at the recreational park, 5259 Booker Ln. in Jay (minimum of 100 tests)

Berrydale Baptist Church, 6730 FL-4 in Jay (minimum of 100 tests)

General Health Guidelines

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community, please follow these CDC guidelines:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Practice physical (social) distancing (6 feet) when in public
  • Do not congregate in groups of larger than 10 people
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then discard in the trash
  • Call before visiting your health care provider
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water is not available
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Public Health Resources

Florida Department of Health in Escambia  

Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa

Florida Department of Health COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control COVID-19

Escambia County COVID-19 Hotline:   


Santa Rosa County COVID -19 Hotline:


Florida COVID-19 Hotline:


Reopening Hotels/Tourism

Hotels are considered an essential business and can operate under the Governor’s Executive Order, but the state’s prohibition on vacation rentals remains in effect.

Suggested Protocols for Hotels:

  • Promote frequent hand washing by employees and guests, e.g., reminder signs (multiple languages to broaden guest communication)
  • Provide alcohol-based hand-free rubs/swipes containing at least 60% alcohol in public areas, e.g., vending / ice machines on hotel floors.
  • Provide tissues and additional trash receptacles in public areas.
  • Room service restrictions, e.g., delivery only to door.
  • Eliminate / reduce in-person check-in or checkout with automated process.
  • Use of chatbot or similar platforms for guest communication / customer service / tipping.
  • Request guests to minimize direct contact with employees.
  • Discourage employees from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
  • Remove / reduce customer service phones in common areas.
  • Increase length of time between vacancy and cleaning rooms.
  • Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is the best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19.
  • Perform additional environmental cleaning on all frequently touched areas, such as front desk, elevator banks, coffee stations, doorknobs, etc.
  • Beachfront hotels should inform beachgoers must observe the CDC guidelines of groupings of 10 or fewer and proper social distancing.
  • Opening the pool invites social congregation and social distancing violations and should remain closed. The decks can be open for food service, as long as there are tables and those tables are adhering to the 6 feet rule.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association has provided a document that answers questions related to hotels

Hotels should also follow the recommendations made under the Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The Governor’s Executive Orders have not closed beaches other than those at the request of Broward and Palm Beach counties.  Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection will announce a phased-in re-opening of state parks.

Escambia County Beaches

The Escambia County Commission voted to open public beaches in Escambia County beginning Friday, May 1st.  Beaches will open 30 minutes before sunrise and close 30 minutes after sunset.  Beachgoers must observe the CDC guidelines of groupings of 10 or fewer and proper social distancing.

Santa Rosa County Beaches

Navarre Beach is open daily. Parking will be available at all public lots and spaces. Visitors may also walk and bike the multi-use path of the island of Navarre Beach.

Navarre Beach Pier is open from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily. Normal pier admission procedures will be in place; daily and annual passes may be purchased.

Visitors must observe the CDC guidelines of groupings of 10 or fewer and proper social distancing.

Northwest Florida National Parks

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local public health authorities, we are increasing access and services in a phased approach across all units of the National Park System. Before visiting a park, please check the park website to determine its operating status. Updates about the overall NPS response to COVID-19, including safety information, are posted on

Florida Phase I National Parks Reopening

In Phase One the following areas will reopen with some operational modifications on the dates listed below if available:

Santa Rosa Area, including Highway 399:

  • Current Status: Reopened on Wednesday, May 6
  • Parking lots 34B, 34C and 34D within the Opal Beach Complex are open
  • All restrooms are closed

Naval Live Oaks Area:

  • Current Status: OPEN as of Saturday, May 2
  • No restrooms
  • The headquarters exhibit area will remain closed

Perdido Key Area:

  • Current Status: OPEN as of Saturday, May 9
  • Shortened hours - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Restrooms open, East pavilion is closed for repairs

In Phase One the following will remain closed, cancelled, or suspended in Florida:

  • Fort Pickens Area including the Discovery Center, bookstore, fishing pier, and campground
  • Fort Barrancas Area
  • All ranger led programs have been cancelled
  • Special Use permits for activities with 10 or more people
  • Pensacola Bay Cruises

Reopening Restaurants

Restaurants will be allowed to re-open, with full outdoor seating on Monday, May 4th. Indoor seating will be allowed at 25 percent of building capacity. On-site sale and retail businesses will be allowed to operate at 25 percent occupancy.  Twenty-five percent building capacity is determined by calculating 25 percent of maximum customer occupancy of that restaurant.

If your business is open, it may remain open and should continue appropriate social distancing and sanitation measures.  Also, any activity or work that has been available under the previous order remains available. Businesses should adopt appropriate social distancing and sanitation measures.

All businesses are still encouraged to provide delivery or pickup and to take orders online or by telephone.

Bars and nightclubs are still closed under the governor’s order.

For restaurants, employee protocols remain in place under the Governor’s Executive Order. Other businesses should adopt appropriate measures based on CDC guidance.

The Governor’s Executive Order does not mandate the use of masks for employee or customers. However, customers, employees and employers should consult CDC guidance

If a business exceeds 25 percent capacity enforcement penalties remain in place including a second-degree misdemeanor with a fine up to $500. Certain regulated businesses may face enforcement action for violations from their regulatory agency.

Local and state law enforcement continue to enforce Executive Orders, along with the regulatory agencies that oversee businesses.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association has a document that answers questions related to restaurants

Reopening Retail Establishments

On-site sale and retail businesses will be allowed to operate at 25 percent occupancy.  Twenty-five percent building capacity is determined by calculating 25 percent of maximum occupancy of that retail business.

There are minimum health protocols that must be met to open a retails business. The Governor’s Executive Order 20-112 requires appropriate social distancing and limits groups to 10 people or fewer. Regulated businesses should adhere to agency guidance. Additionally, businesses should consult with the most up-to-date Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

To reopen your business, review the requirements of the Governor’s Executive Order 20-112  Also review any guidance that has been provided from state and federal regulatory agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

While personal care services such as barbershops and salons with close contact should remain closed, the portions of those businesses with on-site retail sales may re-open at 25 percent building occupancy.

The Governor’s Executive Order does not mandate the use of masks. However, customers, employees and employers should consult CDC guidance.

If a business exceeds 25 percent capacity, enforcement penalties remain in place including a second-degree misdemeanor with a fine up to $500. Certain regulated businesses may face enforcement action for violations from their regulatory agency.

Local and state law enforcement continue to enforce Executive Orders, along with the regulatory agencies that oversee businesses.

Cordova Mall in Pensacola opened Monday, May 4th with the following safety policies and procedures:

  • Enhanced sanitization and disinfecting using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approved products with an emphasis on high-traffic locations such as dining areas, restrooms, escalators, stairs, directories, trash bins and doorknobs.
  • Shopper safeguards that include making available protective masks, sanitizing wipes and temperature testing at entrances or property offices, as well as the encouragement of pre-visit health screenings to ensure shoppers stay home if they have exhibited COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms within 72 hours.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be deployed throughout the property.
  • Signage promoting CDC guidelines for maintaining personal hygiene will be prominently displayed throughout the property.
  • Pre-emptive employee health screening to ensure that employees do not arrive at work within 72 hours of exhibiting COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms.
  • Employee safety protections including implementing the CDC’s COVID-19 frequent handwashing protocols and offering personal protective equipment in addition to other CDC recommended practices.
  • Promotion and enforcement of social distancing practices, including occupancy limitations, furniture and restroom spacing, closure of play areas and strollers, as well as coordinated traffic flow with traffic signage and distance markers.

Cordova Mall’s COVID-19 Exposure Control Policy can be viewed in its entirety at

Executive Order 20-120 allowed for the reopening of barber shops and salons starting Monday, May 11th.  You can find more information concerning safety protocols for these businesses at

Reopening Manufacturing and Supply Chains

Manufacturing in Florida continues with the following safety guidance from OSHA and the CDC:

OSHA_COVID-19, Guidance for the Manufacturing Industry Workforce

CDC Community Guidance, Business Response

Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

CDC, Control and Prevention, COVID-19, General Business FAQ

FloridaMakes, in partnership with the Associated Industries of Florida and Space Florida, have built Connex Florida. A supply chain database tool for the manufacturing industry in Florida. This tool contains in-depth information on a broad range of Florida manufacturers, along with detailed search functions to highlight specific production capabilities, certifications, equipment, material types and more.  The purpose of this tool is to help Florida manufacturers better connect with each other, be discovered, and increase business opportunities.

Through this database you can:

  • Connect with manufacturers
  • Post RFPs/RFQs/RFIs
  • Exchange surplus materials & equipment
  • Identify workforce and R&D offerings
  • Search processes, equipment, certifications, NAICS, SIC, products, materials, etc.

To obtain access to browse and enter your company's information into the database, please visit

Reopening Entrepreneurism

Co:Lab is a business incubator and growth accelerator in Pensacola with one goal: to help entrepreneurs reach their next level.  Co:Lab is still operating under CDC guidelines with businesses having the option of using office space.  All current businesses utilizing Co:Lab space are 10 employees or fewer.  Increased cleaning procedures and limits on common areas

Studer Community Institute (SCI) is a nonprofit dedicated to improving lives.

Two core divisions focus on supporting entrepreneurship, job creation and job growth.

The Spring Entrepreneur Hub exists to empower, connect and grow small businesses in the Pensacola area, serving as the front door to our community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Spring focuses on three key areas – mentorship, connection to resources, and scaling/acceleration –to aid local small businesses in Escambia and Santa Rosa County. Contact DC Reeves or Gracie Woodfin at for more information.

SCI Leadership Development serves to help business owners, leaders and employee grow skills by providing programs, workshops, webinars, online content and toolkits. In addition, their Accelerate Business Roundtable program offers a unique opportunity for business leaders to gather. The Leadership Development goal is to help businesses grow, attract and retain talent and improve the workforce. Contact Rachael Gillette at for more information.

The University of West Florida Center for Entrepreneurship is dedicated to seeding economic growth. The Center encourages and supports educational initiatives related to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking and serves as a comprehensive resource for economic innovation for students, faculty, industry and community partners.

The Pensacola State College Business Entrepreneurship Certificate (CCC) Program is part of the Business Entrepreneurship AS degree program.

This program offers a sequence of courses that provides coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further education and careers in the Business Management and Administration career cluster; provides technical skill proficiency, and includes competency-based applied learning that contributes to the academic knowledge, higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills, work attitudes, general employability skills, technical skills, and occupation-specific skills.

Reopening Construction

While there are no restrictions on construction, these are general job site/office practices recommended by the industry:

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Dirty surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection.  To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2external icon, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
  • Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used tools and equipment on a regular basis.
  • This includes other elements of the jobsite where possible.
  • Employees should regularly do the same in their assigned work areas.
  • Clean shared spaces such as trailers and break/lunchrooms at least once per day.
  • Disinfect shared surfaces (door handles, machinery controls, etc.) on a regular basis.
  • Avoid sharing tools with co-workers if it can be avoided. If not, disinfect before and after each use.
  • Arrange for any portable job site toilets to be cleaned by the leasing company at least twice per week and disinfected on the inside.
  • Any trash collected from the jobsite must be changed frequently by someone wearing gloves.
  • In addition to regular PPE for workers engaged in various tasks (fall protection, hard hats, hearing protection), employers will also provide:
  • Gloves should always be worn while on-site. The type of glove worn should be appropriate to the task.  If gloves are not typically required for the task, then any type of glove is acceptable, including latex gloves.  Gloves should not be shared if possible.
  • Eye protection should always be worn while on-site.
  • Some employees may be required to wear face coverings, including in those situations where (1) it is mandated by state or local rule, or (2) employees must work in proximity of six (6) feet from other employees. A face covering is a cloth, bandana, or other type of material that covers a person’s nose and mouth.  The CDC lists five criteria for “cloth face coverings”: the face covering should:  fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face; be secured with ties or ear loops; include multiple layers of fabric; allow for breathing without restriction; and be able to be laundered and machine-dried without damage or change to shape.  Use of a face covering is not a substitute for other workplace preventative techniques that are outlined in this Plan.

Helping Underserved Communities

With workers being laid off or furloughed, feeding a significant portion of our community is a daily challenge.  Below are food support programs for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.

Manna Food Pantry

Feeding the Gulf Coast

Escambia County Programs

Escambia County Food Sites List

Escambia County Food Sites Map

List of Sites Offering School Meals Starting April 6, 2020

Council on Aging of West Florida

Santa Rosa County Programs

Santa Rosa County Food Pantry and Distribution

Santa Rosa County School Feeding Programs

Feeding stops for neighborhoods

The Council on Aging is offering free to-go meals for adults 60 or over at the locations listed below. Call (850) 432-1475 by noon the day before to reserve a meal. No income or disability qualifications required.

  • H. Pullum Senior Center, 8476 Gordon Goodin Lane in Navarre
  • City of Milton Community Center, 5629 Byrom St. in Milton
  • Christ United Methodist Church, 5983 Dogwood St. in Milton
  • Jay Community Center, 5259 Booker Ln. in Jay5
  • Chumuckla Community Center, 2355 Hwy. 182 W. in Chumuckla
  • Bagdad Community Center, 6860 Pooley St. in Bagdad

Santa Rosa County Food Pantries


Reemployment/Workforce/Education Committee

CareerSource EscaRosa

During the month of May, CareerSource EscaRosa is relocating all operations in Pensacola from L Street to 6913 N. 9th Avenue, in the Eastgate Plaza. The Career Center is located in Suite 12, and Administration is located in Suite 15.

CareerSource EscaRosa will continue serving businesses with assistance in recruiting employees, even if must just working online and on the phone with customers. CareerSource EscaRosa will continue communications with businesses to find out their needs and respond appropriately.

CareerSource EscaRosa expects to launch a platform for virtual job fairs soon and will have a new Apprenticeship Expansion Project to launch along with FloridaWest.  Expected focus will be on IT/Cybersecurity and Manufacturing sectors with that.

As for customers visiting the CareerSource EscaRosa Career Center:

  • Everyone must wear a mask or face covering.
  • Hand sanitizer stations strategically located throughout the center.
  • Physical distancing practiced by reducing the number of workstations available.
  • If needed, will restrict the number of customers in the center at one time.
  • If everything needed is in place and it's generally advised by authorities, CareerSource EscaRosa will plan to open centers to customers on June 1st. Hours are expected to remain the same, Monday thru Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Available Jobs in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties

Reemployment Assistance

Re-Employment Assistance provides temporary wage replacement benefits to qualified individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own.

Under the CARES Act, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is available for eligible applicants who are currently receiving regular state Reemployment Assistance benefits. FPUC is an additional $600 distributed weekly in addition to state Reemployment Assistance benefits.

Due to the system upgrades in CONNECT, DEO is able to issue the additional $600 payments in multiple ways. If you are eligible and have previously provided a bank account in the CONNECT system, you will receive a direct deposit to your account. If you did not provide your bank account, you will receive a check to the mailing address provided on your account.  For information visit DEO’s website

Florida DEO Reemployment Assistance Application Portal*/!STANDARD

Florida Reemployment Assistance Toolkit

Child Care

Today, Escambia County has 43 providers open and 39 closed, not including VPK sites. Some providers have been lost to permanent closure. There is a need for closed childcare facilities to reopen as our local economy begins to reopen. For example, many people who are ready to get back to work at restaurants will need child are to do so. With half of Escambia County providers closed will make finding childcare difficult, and in turn impede individual’s ability to return to work.

Escambia County has enough physical capacity to serve around 6,000 children. Currently, we can only serve about 3,300 because there is a critical shortfall of people willing to work in childcare. This was an ongoing problem before this crisis even began. This crisis will only make this problem worse as many of the childcare workers who have been laid off have already found other jobs or will decide to pursue another line of work. If there is any opportunity for relief funding, we could use money for staff recruitment and retention.

Additionally, many childcare providers have used an undue amount of their limited funds to purchase the additional supplies necessary to operate. They are using a lot of cleaning supplies, gloves, masks, etc. more than ever before. Even some of the routine food supplies are costing more right now. This is cutting severely into their already slim profit margins.

Regarding summer camps and other alternative forms of childcare, Escambia County could easily serve another 2,000 children if we had people to care for them.

Health Care Committee

The role of the Health Care Committee is to continue to provide information and resources to the business community and general public through ESF-8 (Public Health and Medical).  The Health Care Committee will also review ESF-18 practices and publications to ensure that business activities are resuming safely and within recommended health guidelines.

The Health Care Committee is comprised of representatives from Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital, Baptist Health Care, West Florida Hospital, Santa Rosa Medical Center, Community Health of Northwest Florida along with Directors of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County and Santa Rosa counties.

Some important health care points:

  • The health care community wants to make sure individuals who need to seek care do so. Do not put off today what could cause more trouble tomorrow.
  • Do not put off talking with your healthcare provider about concerns you are having.
  • Part of the response includes balancing readiness to care for patients with COVID-19 while continuing to make sure the many other patients who depend on our hospitals receive needed and timely care.
  • Our hospitals are a safe place to receive care; comprehensive protocols have been implemented to ensure the safety of patients, colleagues and the visitors to our hospitals.
  • Robust procedures are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our hospital and in the community.
  • Hospitals go through a rigorous cleaning process typically, and additional procedures have been put in place in response to COVID-19.
  • There are procedures in place to separate suspected and positive COVID patients from other patients needs care in health care facilities.

Volunteers and Social Service

ESF-18 will coordinate with ESF-15 (Volunteers and Donations) led by Greg Strader, CEO of BRACE and Laura Gilliam, the President/CEO of the United Way of West Florida for assistance and coordination of efforts.

ESF-18 representatives are holding bi-weekly calls with ESF-15 representatives to share updates, data, and activities.

All Volunteer and Social Service Activities are being done adhering to CDC guidelines and social distancing protocols.

Florida Business COVID-19 Resources

State of Florida COVID-19 Page:

Florida Department of Health:

Florida DBPR:

Florida DBPR Emergency:

Florida Disaster COVID-19 Page:

Florida DEO:

CareerSource Florida:

VISIT Florida:

Florida Chamber of Commerce:

Associated Industries of Florida:

Florida Retail Federation:

Florida NFIB:

Florida Makes:

Escambia and Santa Rosa County Business COVID-19 Resources

Escambia County COVID-19

Santa Rosa County COVID-19 Page

Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce

Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce

FloridaWest EDA

Santa Rosa County Economic Development

Visit Pensacola

Santa Rosa County Tourism

Gulf Coast Minority Chamber of Commerce

Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce

Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce

Century Chamber of Commerce

Gulf Breeze Chamber of Commerce

Navarre Beach Chamber of Commerce

Pace Chamber of Commerce

Jay Chamber of Commerce

Greater Navarre Chamber of Commerce

CareerSource EscaRosa

Studer Community Institute

The Spring Pensacola

Co:Lab Pensacola

Downtown Improvement Board (DIB)

UWF Small Business Development Center

Emerald Coast Regional Council

Homebuilders Association of West Florida





Santa Rosa County Economic Development
6491 Caroline Street, Suite 4
Milton, Florida 32570-4592