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Home Business Florida gives hope to small businesses and unemployed impacted by COVID-19

Florida gives hope to small businesses and unemployed impacted by COVID-19


The first wave of an estimated 400,000 Floridians who lost their jobs last week began filing for unemployment benefits.

By John Haughey | The Center Square

The National Federation of Independent Business reported Monday that 76 percent of small businesses members nationwide have been negatively affected by the novel coronavirus as ad hoc shutdowns grind economic activity to a halt.

The Florida Division of Economic Opportunity (DEO) was busy Monday, however, as

“By virtue of this crisis, we are seeing an unprecedented number of individuals applying for re-employment assistance. So I ask people to be very patient,” DEO Executive Director Dr. Ken Lawson said Monday during a Facebook Live appearance with Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) said Thursday that Florida hotels, and businesses that support the hotel industry, have cut nearly 400,000 jobs in the past week.

The state, which posted a record-low 2.8 percent unemployment rate in January, is braced for the onslaught of unemployment filings. Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis waived a requirement that out-of-work people contact at least five possible employers every week to receive unemployment benefits, which are capped at $275 weekly, among the nation’s lowest.

DeSantis on Friday also enacted a $50 million Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program, which allows companies with two to 100 employees to apply for short-term loans of up to $50,000.

Keeping them “solvent” he said, will decide “whether we can bounce back quicker, or whether this is a more prolonged economic struggle,” DeSantis said Monday, noting the state was dispersing the short-term, interest-free loans within three days.

“For government work, it doesn’t get any quicker than that,” DeSantis said.

“Providing support to small businesses throughout our state will help to expedite our recovery,” Lawson said.

“The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan is designed to get cash into the hands of small businesses so they can keep their doors open during a crisis,” DeSantis said. “I am pleased to be able to provide our first loans to the small business owners who are in a tough time through no fault of their own. I look forward to other businesses following suit.”

Under Rubio’s proposal, small businesses that employ fewer than 500 employees would be able apply for loans through existing Small Business Administration-certified lenders.

“They don’t have a few weeks before they run out of operating cash. They are (often tearfully) laying off workers all over the country, by the minute because they have no choice,” Rubio tweeted Friday. “Small/mid-size business owners are also employees themselves. The trauma this is inflicting on them, their employees and our country is severe. We don’t have the luxury of days to kick around ideas or try to one-up each other. We need to reach agreement and act.”


  1. The key words are short term loan interest free. It is not going to help with most businesses still shuttered, and people have their guard up now, and are afraid to spend, unsure of what the future holds. The economic momentum has passed. Oh, but the Florida golf courses have not been forced to shut down! All other sport venues have been shut down or postponed. I
    wonder why the golf courses are allowed to play on?……..Oh, I forgot, who owns some of them….!

  2. Yes, just keep those golf courses open where those GOP Trumpers can ride their high brow shiny golf carts through the corona virus drive through swab testing sites! Isn’t that so thoughtful of our governor?!!!

  3. My husband was up at 6:30 am to go to the senior shopping hours at Pubix. Apparently, everyone else had already arrived when we parked. There were two lines, and the side we were on backed almost to the shut down Regions Bank. No one hardly scored the big prize…..toilet paper rolls. Only two people we saw had a pack, and they had a one pack per customer limit, per any paper product. All us oldies noticed the tp stock in the back that they did not put out, though. Publix just loves us seniors!!! You know, my little dog, Prince Giorgio, looks so forward to us emptying the paper off those rolls, where he can have the cardboard roll to chew up. Mama makes sure he gets them! I have another. little dog now too, a little girl dog for him to buddy with, Princess Gia.

  4. This does NOTHING to help the micro-business (or gig-business). One self employed person who is service based. PLEASE! Include US in some kind of relief. We cannot/will not take out loans, we can’t afford them!


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