COVID-19 FAQ

Information and resources regarding COVID-19

On June 25, 2020, Florida Health released a public advisory to wear masks in public and socially distance.

In accordance with CDC guidelines, the City of Sarasota now requires face coverings be worn in indoor and outdoor public locations and businesses located within the city limits. Face masks are not required within residences or places of lodging, or when proper physical or social distancing. The ordinance starts July 1 and will be effective for 60 days. There are also FAQs that The City prepared for you to review. 

  • Other exceptions include: 
    • Children under the age of 18
    • Schools, daycares and non-City government agencies
    • People for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition
    • Those working in a business or profession who do not interact with others, who maintain physical or social distancing from others or where a face covering would prevent them from performing their duties
    • Those who are outdoors or exercising while maintaining physical distancing
    • Those who are eating or drinking
    • The requirement also doesn’t apply when a hearing-impaired person needs to see the mouth of someone wearing a face covering in order to communicate

The City’s enforcement efforts will focus on compliance and education. Violations of the mask requirement could result in a civil, non-criminal infraction with penalties up to a $500 fine.

Currently, there are no ordinances for Sarasota County, only for the City of Sarasota. Popular areas within City Limits are downtown Sarasota (including Selby Gardens), Lido Key (including St. Armands and Lido Beach), the Hillview area near Sarasota Memorial Hospital, North Sarasota along U.S. 41 (including Jungle Gardens and The Ringling) and more. To see a Google Map outlining the City Limits, click here.

The video below is a Q&A between City of Sarasota leaders and local businesses about the mask ordinance:

Due to COVID-19 information from Federal, State and County governments, Visit Sarasota County (VSC) has decided to close its Visitor Centers throughout the county in order to best protect our visitors, volunteers and staff. However, VSC has ensured there are ways people can communicate with us during this time to ask visitor information questions.

Please send your questions via email to [email protected] or call 941-706-1253 to speak with a representative or leave a message to be returned  Monday-Friday between 8:30 am and 5 pm.

You can visit Sarasota County beaches, attractions, local businesses and dine out, as long as you are following recommendations from the CDC and read What you need to know now about COVID-19 in Florida from Florida Health.

Effective June 5, 2020, the State of Florida entered into Phase 2 of the plan for Florida's recovery, in conjunction with Executive Order 20-139. Phase 2 dictates the following:  

  • Restaurants may operate at full capacity outside with appropriate social distancing. Indoor seating is allowed at 50 percent seating capacity. Restaurants may allow bar-top seating with appropriate social distancing.
  • Bar areas may be open with seated service. In addition, outdoor seating is permissible with appropriate social distancing. This section does not apply to nightclubs. On June 26, the Florida Dept. of Business and Professional Development (DBPR) ordered nightclubs and bars, that derive more than 50% of their income from alcohol, to suspend the sale of alcohol on-site due to an increase in COVID cases.
  • Retail establishments may operate at full capacity with responsible social distancing and sanitization protocols.
  • Gyms may operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and frequent sanitization.
  • Entertainment businesses including, but not limited to movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades, may operate at 50 percent capacity with appropriate social distancing and sanitization protocols. Museums and libraries may operate at 50 percent building capacity if permitted by local governments.
  • Personal services businesses, including but not limited to tattoo parlors, acupuncture establishments, tanning salons and massage establishments may operate while adhering to guidance from the Florida Department of Health.

The plan also includes the following: 

  • Individuals over 65 or with underlying medical conditions are strongly encouraged to avoid crowds and take measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • All persons in Florida are encouraged to avoid congregating in groups larger than 50.

You should also review Florida Health’s Information for Travelers.

Effective June 5, 2020, the State of Florida entered into Phase 2 of the plan for Florida's recovery, in conjunction with Executive Order 20-139.

There may be restrictions or limitations in place, set by the Florida Governor. You can review that information and more from Florida Health: Information for Travelers.

The Department of Business & Professional Regulation approved the Sarasota County vacation rental re-opening plan which allows vacation rental reservations and the acceptance of arriving guests, effective May 22, 2020. This plan was updated on June 11, 2020.

Visit Sarasota County is not in a position to advise anyone regarding travel at this time. We defer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Florida. See more information below.

Learn about the CDC's Considerations for Travelers.

Read What you need to know now about COVID-19 in Florida from Florida Health.

There may be restrictions or limitations in place, set by the Florida Governor. You can review that information and more from Florida Health: Information for Travelers.

Visit Sarasota County has gathered a variety of resources that provide guidance and assistance to local businesses relative to COVID-19. View the COVID-19 business resources here