Small businesses across the State of Florida are experiencing a devastating economic shock wave due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Whether their loss in business revenue arose from a drastic drop off in customers or a government-mandated temporary curtailment or shut down of the business, the results have been increasingly devastating and widespread. As a result, businesses are faced with the choice of continuing to pay their idled employees thru the crisis or laying them off until their business revenues can return to some semblance of normal. To a large degree, although businesses have been inundated with guidance from various health organizations and governmental officials about how to reduce the risk of virus exposure within their businesses, until now small businesses have received little meaningful assistance when it comes to ensuring that they will even have a business when the national emergency has passed and they are free to return to unrestricted operation.
In response, Governor Ron DeSantis has initiated the Emergency Bridge Loan Program for Small Businesses Impacted by Covid-19. The program is managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (“DEO”) and will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses experiencing losses relating to Covid-19 and who satisfy certain criteria. Applications will be accepted from March 17, 2020, through May 8, 2020.
You can find out more information about the Bridge Loan at https://floridadisasterloan.org/. You can also review the eligibility requirements and loan process at https://floridadisasterloan.org/eligibility-and-loan-process/. Due to the widespread impact of Covid-19, the process to apply for the Bridge Loan Program has been adapted to allow for easier application. But keep in mind, if you have applied already, you should not apply again.
Businesses impacted by Covid-19 can now apply online at https://deosera.force.com/RebuildFloridaBusinessLoanFund/s/ or download an application from https://floridadisasterloan.org/a/w/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/20200323-COVID-19-Florida-Emergency-Bridge-Loan-Application.pdf and mail it with the required supporting documentation to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) at: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, C/O Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan, 107 E. Madison Street, MSC-160, Tallahassee FL 32399-4120.
If you need assistance through this process, or have any other legal questions related to Covid-19, the attorneys at Bivins & Hemenway, P.A., stand ready to assist you. Please let us know how we can help you and your business weather this storm.