JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nonessential businesses in Florida are being forced to shut their doors at 12:01 a.m. Friday due to the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis in response to the coronavirus outbreak, but there are resources available for small business owners.
It’s typically a busy month for Jazzy’s Restaurant and Bar, located on King Street in Riverside, but according to owner Celestia Mobley, business has come to a screeching halt, leaving her no other option than to apply for help.
“There’s absolutely no income coming in there at all, and my landlord is still wanting their rent,” Mobley said.
If you’re in the same situation and you’re not sure where you should turn for help, here’s what’s happening on the local, state and federal level when it comes to emergency loans:
A local loan option, which was put together by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and his staff, is expected to be unveiled Monday. The details are being ironed, but according to a city spokesperson, it’s written to encourage businesses to keep their employees. The City Council is expected to vote and finalize the emergency loan program Monday.
“To help companies staying busy and retain their employees, we are looking at a $20-$30 million program with a combination of grants, interest payments and potential aid toward the principle of the loan," Curry said. "It is my intention at the city portion of this program will be focused on small businesses with some elements tied to employee retention.”
VyStar Credit Union said it has several COVID-19 loan relief programs to lessen the stress that members may experience during cuts and losses. The credit union also said its working with the city to help keep Jacksonville businesses afloat.
One the state level, the Florida Emergency Bridge Loan Program offers interest-free loans up to $50,000, but loans up to $100,000 can be given out in special cases.
Small businesses with two to 100 employees are eligible. This includes contractors.
If the loan is not paid in one year, the rate goes up to 12% per year.
For more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org.
On the federal level, Congress’ Paycheck Protection Program enables small businesses to receive up to $10 million.
The first payment is deferred for six months.
The Small Business Association will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll, rent, utilities and mortgage.
All loans have an interest rate of 0.5%.
Businesses with 500 or fewer employees are eligible.
Click here for more information about the Paycheck Protection Program.
Other options for businesses include the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan, in which businesses can receive up to $2 million. Payments can be deferred for a year, at an interest rate of 3.75%. Click here for more information.
Mobley said she applied for an SBA loan, and like most business owners, she said she’s anxious to get a response.
”I can’t imagine, and not just myself, not getting any relief. Everybody is going through this," Mobley said.
People have been inquiring about whether or not they can apply for more than one loan. The answer is yes, but keep in mind you have to pay all the money back. Another important note to remember is that you can only apply for one federal loan at a time.