Jacksonville City Council to consider small business relief program

City says more details about the program in partnership with VyStar Credit Union will be announced Monday

Resources available for small businesses forced to shut their doors
Resources available for small businesses forced to shut their doors

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With nonessential businesses forced to shut their doors because of the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis, emergency loan programs aim to help businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted over the weekend that the Jacksonville City Council on Monday will consider the small business relief program legislation that he announced last week.

“I’m pleased that 17 of my colleagues on the City Council have agreed to co-introduce this legislation with me,” Curry posted Sunday on Twitter.

In addition, the City of Jacksonville tweeted that more details regarding the program in partnership with VyStar Credit Union will be announced Monday. According to a city spokesperson, the legislation is written to encourage businesses to keep their employees.

“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 Tuesday during a virtual meeting of the City Council. "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 also 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.

RELATED | Here are local, state, federal resources available to small business owners

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.

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.

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