DISASTER PLANNING AND RECOVERY FOR BUSINESS
Prepare, respond, recover. This is the foundation of business continuity and the only effective way to diffuse the impact of a hurricane. From flood waters, property damage, power loss and spoiled food, coping with the aftermath of a powerful storm could be very troublesome for small business owners.
Atlantic Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30 and it is important for business owners and managers to take a multi-pronged approach to preparedness and bounce back quickly following a storm.
Alert Pinellas – Receive alerts about emergencies and other important community news by signing up for Alert Pinellas, an emergency notification service for Pinellas County, Local Municipalities, and the Sheriff’s Office. This service is FREE to our residents. It allows you to sign up to receive urgent messages on a variety of situations, such as severe weather, boil water notices, missing persons, or evacuations.
State of Florida Disaster Biz – a new website developed to provide businesses, small and large, easy access to critical information before, during and after a disaster. FloridaDisaster.biz is a partnership between the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM).
PREPARE AND RESPOND: Disaster Preparedness Tool-kits for Business
RECOVER: After the storm
If your business was damaged or experienced any economic loss from a designated disaster, you may be eligible to apply for immediate assistance through the form of emergency loans. Not only is it important to determine the amount that is needed to sustain your business and get back in operation, a business must analyze what is feasible to be able to pay back the withdrawn amount.
Review programs that are available below that may fit your needs. For a breakdown of information on these programs, visit our partner’s resource with SBDC HERE.
STATE OF FLORIDA:
Financial assistance status: ACTIVE
Business Damage Assessment Survey
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey to gather information about how Hurricane Ian is impacting local businesses. This survey will assess and inform recovery resources needed in impacted communities. This assessment does NOT serve as an application for resources, including the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.
Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program provides short-term, zero-interest working capital loans (up to 12 months) that are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a disaster impacts a business and when a business has secured longer term recovery funding such as federally or commercially available loans, insurance claims or other resources. The program, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), and interested applicants can apply now through December 2, 2022, or until all available funds are expended.
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan is intended to “bridge” the gap between when a declared disaster occurs and when additional funding sources, such as U.S. Small Business Administration or commercial loans, can be secured in order for business owners to maintain operations and pay employees.
YES. Emergency Bridge Loans are state funds that need to be paid back. The term of the loan is for one year and it must be repaid within 360 days of the loan closing date or until long-term funding is secured.
Florida Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
The purpose of Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is to provide benefits and reemployment services to individuals whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of a major disaster. Workers can apply if they worked, were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment and are not able to work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster.
DUA is available to Florida businesses and residents in FEMA disaster-declared counties whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a direct result of Hurricane Ian and are not eligible for regular state or Federal Reemployment Assistance benefits.
Apply online: CONNECT.MyFlorida.com or call 1-800-385-3920.
Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to assist claimants. For DUA claims information, call 1-833-FL-APPLY (1-833-352-7759) to speak with a representative.
U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA)
Financial assistance status: ACTIVE
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are now available to businesses in Pinellas County under the Presidential disaster declaration due to Hurricane Ian. Businesses in Pinellas County are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. The filing deadline for physical property damage is November 28, 2022 and the deadline for economic injury applications are due June 29, 2023. For more information, visit sba.gov/disaster.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should first submit a claim with insurer and register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app, or call 800-621-3362.
Download Resource: The Three-Step Process: Disaster Loans
Download Resource: The Three-Step Process: Disaster Loans (en Espanol)
Local support for business
For help with recovering your business for after a disaster, request assistance through The Greenhouse to be partnered with an appropriate mentor or consultant with our partners at SCORE Pinellas and SBDC at Pinelass County Economic Development. Resource partners can also help businesses apply for disaster loans and provide guidance on how to get up and running after a hurricane strikes.
Additional Disaster Recovery Resources
Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety—Tips on how to create your own business continuity plan, how to rebuild stronger, and an interactive disaster hazard map.
IRS Deadline Relief
Victims of Hurricane Ian now have until February 15, 2023 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. Details on this and other Ian-related relief from the IRS can be found at www.irs.gov/disasters.
Deadline Extension for Licensing Renewals from DBPR
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation, under Emergency Order 2022-01 has extended the renewal deadline from September 30 or October 31, 2022 for certain state licenses and extends the deadline for the filing of monthly reports and returns by certain alcoholic beverage and tobacco license holders. For more information, visit www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/emergency.
Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR)
OIR has issued Emergency Order 300997-22-EO in response to Hurricane Ian regarding the extension of grace periods, limitations on cancellations and nonrenewals, deemers and limitations on “use and file” filings. This Emergency Order is issued to protect the public health, safety and welfare of all Florida policyholders. OIR is requiring daily catastrophe claims reporting for Hurricane Ian starting Friday, September 30 to assist with determining the impact of Hurricane Ian on Florida’s insurance industry. More information regarding catastrophe claims data and reporting is available here.
The Pinellas County Contractors Licensing Board warns that your business or home has incurred damage due to the storm, do not hire an unlicensed contractor. Before hiring any contractor, ask for their name and license number and verify their identification and use the County’s Contractor Search feature to verify they are eligible to work in Pinellas County.
Report unlicensed contracting to (727) 582-6767 or submit a report online.
The Disaster Contractors Network contains a list of licensed contractors that can be searched by name, county, and type. This can be found at www.DCNonline.org
Statewide Donation & Volunteer Efforts
Please note: The Greenhouse does not formally endorse any of the following opportunities. Please research transparency and appropriately vet your involvement in recovery opportunities.
Donate to the Florida Disaster Fund to Help with Hurricane Ian Recovery Efforts
If you or your business is interested in making a donation to the Florida Disaster Fund – the State’s official private fund that assists Florida communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster, To contribute, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.
From the Volunteer Florida Website: “Following an emergency or disaster in the State of Florida, the Volunteer Florida Foundation may release an application for funding for organizations involved in immediate response and/or long-term recovery efforts through the Florida Disaster Fund.
At this time, there is not an application open. Please sign up for their newsletter to stay up to date on all of their funding opportunities. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.”
The Volunteer Florida Foundation’s ability to offer this funding is dependent on donations received through the Florida Disaster Fund. For information on past Grantees: https://www.volunteerflorida.org/florida-disaster-fund-grantees/
Hurricane Ian Volunteer Opportunities
As Florida communities recover from the devastating impact of Hurricane Ian, we have heard from many community members who want to help and get their companies and employees involved in recovery efforts. Volunteer Florida has a variety of opportunities via its Volunteer Connect platform. If you are interested in learning more: