Small Businesses, Financial, and Operating Resources
On April 24th, President Trump signed legislation providing roughly $484 billion in new coronavirus aid for small businesses and hospitals and more funding for testing.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Coronavirus Relief Options:
In addition to traditional SBA funding programs, the CARES Act established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
This loan program provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program.
As of July 6, the PPP has resumed accepting applications, following the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Extensions Act. The deadline to apply for a loan has been extended to August 8, 2020.
The SBA issued revised guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which implements the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) and expands eligibility for businesses with owners who have past felony convictions.
The SBA issued revised PPP application forms to conform to these changes. Additional guidance regarding loan forgiveness and a revised forgiveness application to implement the PPPFA is forthcoming.
Click here for Details on the Paycheck Protection Program.
Click here for FAQ for Lenders and Borrowers.
Click here to view the Interim Final Rules.
Click here to view the Borrower Application.
Click here to view the Lender Application.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL):
REOPENED: The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advanced Grant program is now accepting applications from small business and agricultural businesses. The maximum loan amount remains at the reduced amount of $150,000. Click here to learn more about the EIDL program.
SBA Express Bridge Loans
Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. Click here to learn more.
SBA Debt Relief
The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more.
SBA Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources. Click here
IRS Stimulus Check Information: Click here for the most up-to-date information.
The IRS has prepared a Tax Credit FAQ and information on how to account for the credit reduction if you are an employer with employees that have taken Families First Coronavirus Response Act Family Leave or Paid Sick Leave, Click here to view the FAQ.
Employee Retention Tax Credit: If your business has been impacted by COVID-19 and you have retained your employees, but did not apply or receive loans or grants through the CARES program or other small business loans, the Employee Retention Tax Credit may assist you by providing a refundable credit against your employer portion of payroll taxes. Click here for more information.
Main Street Lending Program from the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank:
This program was established to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here for details on the program
Click here for details on the program expansion
Beginning Friday, June 5th, Florida entered Full Phase 2: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida's Recovery. The Phase 2 provisions relating to these expanded business activities do not apply in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Phase 2 reopening provisions in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties will be considered after each county seeks approval with a written request from the County Mayor or County Administrator.
- Restaurants may operate at full capacity outside (with proper social distancing) & indoor seating is allowed at 50% capacity. Bar-top service is allowed if patron is seated.
- Bars & Pubs may operate at 50% capacity inside & full capacity outside (with proper social distancing). Bar-top service is allowed if patron is seated. The new order does not apply to nightclubs. See DBPR Emergency Order 2020-09 for compliance details.
- Retail Establishments may operate at full capacity.
- Gyms may operate at full capacity.
- Entertainment Businesses, including but not limited to movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades, may operate at 50% capacity.
- Barber Shops, Hair Salons & Nail Salons may continue to operate while adhering to safety protocols.
- Personal Services Businesses, including but not limited to tattoo parlors, acupuncture establishments, tanning salons & massage establishments may operate while adhering to guidance from the FL Department of Health.
- Summer camps and Youth Recreation Camps may also operate.
- Schools & Organized Youth Activities (e.g., daycare, camps) may operate, including youth sports teams & leagues, youth clubs & programs and child care.
- Museums & Libraries may operate at 50% capacity if permitted by local governments.
- Amusement Parks may submit re-opening plans with county approval to the State for consideration.
- Professional Sports Venues may open and operate for games, events, competitions and training.
- Pari-Mutuel Facilities may submit a request to open to the DBPR. The request must include an endorsement from their county major or county administrator if no mayor.
- Vacation Rentals: Counties may seek approval to operate vacation rentals by submitting request & safety plan to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
- University Campuses: On June 23rd, Florida Universities will be presenting their plans to Re-Open their campuses.
NOTE: In order to operate as stated above, businesses need to provide appropriate social distancing and frequent sanitation.
Effective June 26th, pursuant to DBPR Emergency Order 2020-09, the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises is suspended for all licensed alcoholic beverage vendors who derive more than 50% of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Notwithstanding this restriction of sales for on-premises consumption, such vendors may continue to sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off the premises in accordance with Executive Order 20-71, Sections 1 and 2. For More Details Click Here.
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (Florida DBPR). Click here for additional information
To view Governor DeSantis' Recovery Plan Report, click here.
Click Here for a complete list of COVID-19 executive orders as well as other resources from the Governor's office.
Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) is a supplemental benefit for households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures. Families who are eligible for the free and reduced-price school meals program under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are eligible to receive P-EBT. P-EBT benefits were issued automatically during the month of June. More information on the P-EBT program can be found here.
FLORIDA Re-Employment & Unemployment Assistance:
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has announced new requirements and application processes for individuals seeking unemployment benefits along with a new Reemployment Assistance COVID-19 Resource Guide:
- if you are seeking to apply for a new unemployment benefit claim, claimants should click here to apply.
- Click here for more details on all DEO Information.
Click here for the State of Florida resource site.
Two additional programs are available through local participating financial institutions in partnership with the State of Florida economic development arm Enterprise Florida:
The Microfinance Guarantee Program is designed to provide a loan guarantee to lenders that extend credit to entrepreneurs and small businesses through this program. Enterprise Florida has suspended initial fees (approx. 2%) due to COVID19. Click here to view borrower eligibility.
The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is designed to provide a loan guarantee to lenders that extend credit to small to medium size businesses. Click here to view program information.
Opportunities for our local manufacturers to participate in needed supply chain opportunities:
The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) in partnership with Space Florida and FloridaMakes announced the deployment of an online database today for Florida’s manufacturers to engage in a statewide manufacturing supply chain, workforce and R&D connection portal through CONNEX Florida, at no cost. Click here for more information.
The COVID-19 Manufacturers Marketplace is a domestic supply chain connection solution with manufacturers across the country. Manufacturers can submit capabilities for critical infrastructure needs in addition to finding suppliers. Click here for more information.
For individuals seeking unemployment benefits or have questions about their application status, the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has NEW multiple options for claimants to seek assistance:
- Click here for a mobile friendly online application.
- Click here for a user-friendly online platform application.
- Click here for Email Assistance Form
- Click here for Reemployment Assistance
- DEO Assistance Hotline: 1-800-204-2418
- Local Hotline: 1-866-482-4473
- Click here for Reemployment Assistance FAQ
The Florida Small Business Development Center has prepared a small business loan guide to help navigate the various provisions in each of the available loan programs. Click here to view.
GrowFL has hosted a COVID-19 Human Resource Update for Businesses webinar which included a panel of experts who gave an HR update focused on COVID-19 related topics including HR do’s and don’ts, employer and employee benefits under the new legislation, managing remote workers and how to handle layoff notifications and concerns in this challenging environment. Click here to view.
To help Florida’s agricultural producers who are struggling to sell perishable products due to the COV ID-19 shut down of restaurants & food service businesses, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has developed a “Keep Florida Growing” by creating a Florida Farm to You Commodities List connecting buyers with farmers and producers in Florida. If you are an agricultural producer, Click here to submit your available products on the Growers list. Buyers and consumers can view a complete list of participating producers for purchase or donation. Click here to view producer list.
Click here to learn more.
The Short-Time Compensation Program is a voluntary employer program available to provide prorated Reemployment Assistance benefits to employees who may have had work hours and earnings reduced due to the implementation of a Short-Time Compensation plan to avoid a total layoff of some employees amid COVID-19. Employers can apply here.
The Black Business Loan Program (BBLP) offers alternative lending solutions to Florida-based black owned small businesses by providing short-term loans and technical assistance. Click here to apply.
The Florida Business Loan Fund provides financing to assist businesses with resiliency efforts. The funds are a source of affordable capital for businesses that can be used for inventory purchases, construction, working capital, equipment financing and more. Click here to apply.
Funded by corporate and philanthropic partners, the Save Small Business Fund is a collective effort to provide $5,000 grants to small employers. Due to high demand, applications have closed.
Bioflorida is calling on all life sciences and other organizations to donate supplies to help fight COVID-19. Click here to learn more.
St. Lucie County Adopts New Steps to Assist Businesses, Shorten Permit Times
The St. Lucie Board of County Commissioners and the St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce new measures to assist existing and new businesses and support economic recovery efforts in response to COVID-19.
The Board of County Commissioners approved a one-year, 15-percent reduction in all permit fees beginning Oct. 1.
Additionally, the County Commissioners took the first step in changing the Land Development Code to increase the number of plans that can be approved at the staff level and defer some preliminary requirements to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to get plans approved.
A number of additional business-friendly steps are also in the works intended to reduce time and cost in the development review process.
It is the continued goal of St. Lucie County and the Chamber/EDC Task Force to work together to create a business-friendly environment in St. Lucie County.
More information can be found here.
St. Lucie County launches Small Business Assistance Grants
Businesses with up to 3 employees will be eligible for grants up to $5,000, businesses with 4 to 10 employees will be eligible for grants up to $7,500, and businesses with 11-25 employees will be elibible for grants up to $10,000.
The application process launched on Monday, August 3. Phase two of the program (as of September 3) introduces some new criteria. Grants up to $10,000, which do not have to be repaid, will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying businesses with 11‐25 employees and total revenue of less than $2 million. Priority is being given to businesses that did not receive funding through other federal, state, or local programs related to COVID‐ 19.(Businesses with 0‐10 employees are still eligible and encouraged to apply.) Funding is available to businesses economically injured due to the pandemic and mandated to close due to COVID‐19. They include small businesses in hardest hit industries such as hospitality, retail, entertainment, food and beverage, and personal services. Grants may be used to cover expenses during a forced closure and incurred to safely reopen. Grant funds can be used to cover mortgage, rent, utilities, reopening costs, and new operational expenses needed to ensure safety measures are in place.
- Visit RecoverStLucie.org for guidelines and eligibility requirements
- Technical assistance is available to help business owners complete the application.
The Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County (EDC of SLC) is an excellent source of information to help businesses navigate new financial assistance for employers and their employees.
Click Here for the EDC of SLC COVID-19 Business Assistance Web Portal for updated information on programs and services to assist your business and employees.
Click Here to subscribe to the daily email updates from EDC of SLC.
The Economic Development Council has established a new COVID-19 Virtual Business Recovery Center (VBRC). EDC President Pete Tesch has announced the appointment of Bill West as Executive Director. The VBRC will work in partnership with the Small Business Development Center to provide regional businesses with recovery resources, guidance, programming and consulting support. Click here for more information.
Governor DeSantis and the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced that FedEX is offering free printing and mailing of unemployment assistance paper applications at over 100 storefronts across the state. Please share this valuable information to individuals seeking unemployment assistance. The following location has confirmed they are providing this service in St. Lucie County: FedEx Office, Print and Ship Center, 260 SW Port St. Lucie Blvd., Port St. Lucie, Hours of Operation : 9 AM to 6 PM.
Port St. Lucie business owners can seek guidance and resources through the City of Port St. Lucie’s Business Navigator, Elijah Wooten, MBA. Visit the City of Port St. Lucie’s Financial & Business Resources during COVID-19 page here, or contact Elijah directly through email or by phone: 772-873-6374.
If you are open for business, please take a few minutes to complete this brief survey from the City. Click here to take the Open For Business Survey.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce is seeking feedback from businesses who have applied for any of the loan programs available through the COVID-19 pandemic. Please click here to take the brief survey . The information gleaned from the survey results will help guide future changes to lending programs and ensure businesses are getting the support they need.
The City of Fort Pierce launched a Disaster and Recovery Grant Program for residents and businesses. The grant program opened on Monday, May 4th. Due to this strong level of participation, the pre-screening process ended Friday, May 8, 2020 at 12 Noon. City of Fort Pierce staff will then be contacting applicants and potential applicants to assist with collecting the required documentation.