Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 16 activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. The application period opens today, March 17, 2020 and runs through May 8, 2020.

“As we mitigate against the spread of COVID-19, the health, safety and well-being of Floridians comes first,” said Governor DeSantis. “I understand the harm mitigation strategies will have on small businesses throughout our state. By activating the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan, we are providing the opportunity for Florida’s small businesses to receive cash immediately to ensure they can lessen the impacts felt as a result of COVID-19.”

Here are resources for financial help.

Reemployment assistance

DeSantis reminded Floridians that if their employment has been hurt because of mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, these Floridians may be eligible to receive reemployment assistance.

Individuals who are eligible for reemployment assistance may include:

Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency.

Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns.

Those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

DeSantis and the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) encourage any Floridian whose employment has been hurt as a result of COVID-19 to visit Floridajobs.org and click on the Reemployment Assistance Service Center to learn more about the program and to watch a short video on how to apply.

Private businesses assisting Floridians

DeSantis also applauded moves by private businesses such as FPL, Duke Energy, TECO and Uber, which are taking steps to assist Floridians with electric bills and delivering free meals to health care workers.

Assistance for employers and their staffs

In an effort to minimize an economic impact to employers and employees due to COVID-19, the Short Time Compensation Program is a voluntary employer program designed to help employers maintain their staff by reducing the weekly working hours during temporary slowdowns instead of temporarily laying off employees.  

If an employer establishes a Short Time Compensation Plan and an employee meets the qualifications to file an reemployment assistance claim in the state of Florida, the employee will receive a partial reemployment check to supplement the reduced paycheck. 

SBA Loan Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the activation of its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for businesses affected by COVID-19. This program can provide up to $2 million to help eligible small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met should the pandemic not have occurred. 

— Contributed

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