Business Disaster Resources
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Local Resources to Help Your Business Weather the Next Storm with Background Image of Storm Clouds

EMERGENCY STATUS: ACTIVE

On Monday, March 9, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-51, declaring a State of Emergency for COVID-19. By declaring a State of Emergency, Governor DeSantis is ensuring that state and local governments have the resources and flexibility they need to prepare and respond. 
 

On Thursday March 12, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida's local business operations.  The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin.  The Business Damage Assessment Survey can be taken online at https://floridadisaster.biz/

 

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, The Highlands County Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution proclaiming a Local State of Emergency


The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) continues to encourage businesses to follow the "Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers" issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 


 

SUBSCRIBE Storm kit tote
to our email list to receive live updates on the activation of support programs, urgent business information and more. *One tote per business, while supplies last.


 

CONNECT

Stay connected with up-to-date information via these two sources:

1. Subscribe to our Business Alerts for realtime information on the activation of support programs, urgent updates and more. (Business only updates)

2. Subscribe to ALERT HIGHLANDS for critical alerts on severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons, and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods. (All county updates)

3. Register your business with the state's emergency business database at Floridadisaster.biz.


 

PLAN

We know you’re busy, but the effects of a disaster on your business will only be worse if you don’t plan in advance. Planning helps you resume operations more quickly, and it gives you a competitive advantage by providing your customers assurance that you’re prepared to serve them even after a disaster. How would you manage your business if access to the workplace is limited by roads closures, streets are impassable, or communication is limited?

 

Do-It-Yourself Planning Guides:

 

FREE Expert Help:

SBDC specialists can help you develop custom disaster plans. Find out more at 863-784-7378 or floridasbdc.org/business-continuation/.

 

Prep Your Disaster Kit:
Assemble your essential documents to ensure you have the items needed to quickly submit insurance claims and apply for potential support programs. View a suggested disaster kit checklist here (PDF). Subscribe to our email list.


 

RECOVER

REPORT DAMAGE

BUSINESS DAMAGE ASSESSMENT SURVEY: ACTIVE
www.FLORIDADISASTER.Biz

Complete the online damage assessment, which takes just a few minutes. Your information will be shared with emergency response agencies to expedite implementation of appropriate disaster relief programs.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida's local business operations.  The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businessess affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin.  

The Business Damage Assessment Survey can be taken online at https://floridadisaster.biz/


GET HELP
Depending on the severity of a disaster, a number of resources may be activated to help businesses. These resources include:

SBA DISASTER LOANS: ACTIVE
Additional Details >> https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/Index.


The Small Business Adminsitrations offers low interest disaster loans for individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations. The loans can be used for loss and damages not fully covered by insurance. View this list of information needed for the SBA loan process.

 

THE U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION HAS TWO DISASTER DECLARATIONS APPLICABLE TO HIGHLANDS COUNTY RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES RELATED TO HURRICANE DORIAN AND COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

 

  • BUSINESS PHYSICAL DISASTER LOAN - INACTIVE
    Businesses and most private non-profit organizations located in a declared disaster area that incurred damage during a disaster may apply for a low-interest loan to help replace or restore damaged property if federal assistance is activated. SBA makes physical disaster loans of up to $2 million to qualified businesses and most private non-profit organizations. Visit www.SBA.gov for full details


  • ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN - ACTIVE
    If federal assistance is activated and you are in a declared disaster area, have suffered substantial economic injury regardless of physical damage, and you are a small business, small agricultural cooperative, or private nonprofit organizations, you may qualify for an EIDL. EIDLs provide working capital to help businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. SBA can provide up to a maximum of $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses. A business may qualify for both an EIDL and a physical disaster loan, not to exceed the maximum of $2 million. Visit www.SBA.gov for full details.

    • FL 16183 is an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private non-profit organizations. This is for those who lost income due to Hurricane Dorian, when it looked as if the storm might hit Florida, Aug. 28-Sept. 9. These working capital loans up to $2 million 3.875% interest (there is no minimum borrowing requirement). The application deadline is Aug. 13, 2020. DOWNLOAD FACT SHEET HERE.
       

    • FL 16353 is an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration for working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private non-profit organizations to assist through the disaster recovery period of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Small businesses can qualify for up to $2 million. No limit on number of employees (**businesses with only 1 employee are eligible, unlike iwth the Emergency Bridge Loan Program). Interest rates of 3.75% for-profit or 2.75% non-profit. Applicants do not go thorugh a bank to apply. Business owners apply directly to the SBA's Disaster Assistance Program at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/  The Florida Small Business Development Center at USF will assist Highlands County applicants in completing their forms, when requested. The application deadline is December 18, 2020. DOWNLOAD FACT SHEET HERE.

 

The U.S. SBA South FL District Office will host virtual office hours to answer questions about the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Limited to 250 callers at one time. Participants may call at anytime and are welcome to enter and exit at will. Callers will be muted upon entry and will be taken in the order they are received. 

Virtual Office Hours:
Monday, March 23 - Friday, April 4
11:00 am - 1:00 pm 
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
 

How to Participate:
Join Skype Meeting     
Join by phone: (202) 765-1264; Conference ID - 162817288
Trouble Joining? Try Skype Web App


 
FLORIDA SMALL BUSINESS EMERGENCY BRIDGE LOAN - ACTIVE

The purpose of the Emergency Bridge Loan Program is to provide a source of expedient cash flow to Florida small businesses impacted by a disaster. These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to "bridge the gap" between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance. 

On March 16, 2020 Governor Ron DeSantis activated the loan program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The program will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. The applciation period runs March 17,2020 through May 8, 2020, contingent on availability of funds.

APPLICATION PROCESS UPDATE: As of Tuesday, March 24, 2020, all phone inquiries must be directed to the Department of Economic Opportunity's (DEO) COVID-19 Call Center: 1-833-832-4494. Also, all loan applications must be completed online at DEO's website: http://www.floridajobs.org/rebuildflorida/businessrecoveryThe Florida SBDC at USF will no longer accept applications sent via email, fax or USPS. The Florida SBDC at USF will continue to work with the list of business owners that have already started the application process directly with them. They will also work with the applications that will be sent to DEO directly starting today, March 24, 2020, for continued assistance at the local level.

Due to the high outreach volume noticed above, Highlands County businesses can also reach out directly to Highlands County Economic Development at economicdevelopment@highlandsfl.gov, 863-402-6906 or 863-402-6924 for additional guidance. 


REEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) provides a Reemployment Assistance Center that houses a Reemployment Assistance Application Guide Video as well as Reemployment Assistance COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.  

Short Time Compensation Information

Short Time Compensation is a special claims program that pays partial benefits to groups of employees working reduced hours. Employers may elect to participate in this program to retain valued employees by reducing hours for an entire group of employees instead of resorting to temporary layoffs. 

View Program Information for EMPLOYERS

View Program Information for EMPLOYEES

Additional questions or information can be gained by contacting Highlands County's local workforce board, CareerSource Heartland for employers and employees dealing with potential layoffs due to COVID-19 and various support programs. CareerSource Heartland can be reached at 863-385-6372.


OUR MISSION

Enhance the quality of life in Highlands County by attracting a diversity of new businesses; increasing industrial investment while facilitating the retention and successful expansion of existing business and industry.

Keep In Touch

Economic Development
Highlands County Board of County Commissioners
(E)
economicdevelopment@highlandsfl.gov
(P) 863.402.6906
(F) 863.402.6651