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As application numbers rise, here’s how to apply for unemployment in Florida

Florida governor also offering loan assistance for small businesses during COVID-19 pandemic

File photo
File photo (iStock/KLH49)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Department of Labor has reported 70,000 new applications for unemployment within the past week. It’s the highest weekly total since 2017, following Hurricane Harvey.

The federal government has allowed states to amend laws to provide unemployment to people affected directly by covid-19. That includes:

  • An employer temporarily stopping operations – preventing employees from coming to work
  • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over
  • An individual leaves their job due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.

Floridians can file a claim online or dial 1-800-204-2418.

Some businesses struggling to keep doors open

Small businesses across Northeast Florida are feeling the strain during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers have promised relief is on the way. Apart from that, there are a few options for businesses to continue on without having to lay off employees or close their doors, but it will cost them in the future.

Meghan Poutre has worked at Linen and Rust, a family-owned business in Orange Park, for the few years it’s been open. In the last week, there has been a noticeable different in the number of people coming through the door.

Small businesses across Northeast Florida are feeling the strain of COVID-19
Small businesses across Northeast Florida are feeling the strain of COVID-19

“The farmers market right next door usually brings in a lot of customers for us, but that was canceled on Sunday,” Poutre said. “I knew things would be slow but I didn’t realize that I would have that much time on a Sunday that I normally have on a weekday.”

Poutre said she’s “confident, but a little uneasy.”

Governor Ron DeSantis has announced two different loan opportunities for small businesses: The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program and the U.S. Small Business Disaster Loan Assistance. Both offer either little or no interest loans but in the end they will have to be paid back.

Meanwhile, businesses are getting crafty with selling in a time of social distance.

Pouter does live videos around the store showing off merchandise and they offer free delivery for all orders above $350.

“Our heart is in this,” she said. “We know we’re not going to let anything crush us, even a pandemic, but you just never know."

About the Author:

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.