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Economy / Business
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Emergency Loans Available For Small Businesses, While More Florida Companies Cut Employees

sign on a business door
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA
The department’s emergency “bridge loan” program can connect eligible small businesses with up to $500,000 in financing for inventory purchases, renovations and working capital needs.";s:3:

Small businesses feeling the impact of coronavirus caused shutdowns and local stay-at-home measures may be eligible for emergency loans through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

At the same time, tens of thousands of Floridians are filing for unemployment benefits.

The DEO's emergency “bridge loan” program can connect eligible small businesses with up to $50,000 in financing for inventory purchases, renovations and working capital needs. (Editor's note: An earlier version of this story reported a different amount that was reported by the state. The maximum loan amount available is $50,000.)

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.

Businesses must be established before Mar. 9, with less than 100 employees and can prove economic injury as a result of the coronavirus pandemic to qualify for the 12-month loan.

Emergency loans have high interest-rates and are designed to be repaid quickly. The loan amount must be paid in full within one year in order to avoid a 12% interest rate on the remaining debt.  

Businesses must apply for the program before May 8.

For more information on the bridge loan program call (883) 832-4494 or email FloridaBusinessLoanFund@deo.myflorida.com. 

Meanwhile, the state's tourism-based economy is seeing massive layoffs due to coronavirus.

Busch Gardens Tampa is putting 90 percent of its staff on unpaid furlough, as the park says it will remain closed indefinitely.

The Hyatt Regency in Sarasota has laid off over 100 workers, while more than 50 were let go at St. Petersburg's Magnuson Hotel.

Those figures also come from the DEO, which tracks large layoffs. The numbers don't account for countless small businesses that have cut staff.

On Thursday, the state will update how many Florida residents applied for jobless benefits last week. Two weeks ago, the number swelled to 74,000.