Disaster Planning and Recovery

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, spoiled food, and 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 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).

Click here to learn more and register your business today.

For more information about disaster preparedness and recovery, please visit Hurricane Center.

RECOVER: After the Storm

If your business is damaged or you 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to sustain your business and get back in operation, a business must analyze what is feasible to be able to pay back the withdrawn amount.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.

Business Damage Assessment Survey

Financial Assistance Status: ACTIVE

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey to gather information about how Hurricane Idalia 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.

Visit floridadisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments
Damage Assessment Survey

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

Financial Assistance Status: ACTIVE

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.

Businesses in Pinellas County are eligible to apply by the October 25, 2023 deadline, or until all available funds are expended.

Why is it called an Emergency “Bridge” Loan?

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.

Do I need to pay back the Emergency Bridge Loan?

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.


Apply for Florida Bridge Loan

Florida Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

Financial Assistance Status: TBD

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.

Apply online: CONNECT.MyFlorida.com  or call 1-800-385-3920.

U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA)

Financial Assistance Status: ACTIVE

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can be made available to businesses in Pinellas County after disasters. Businesses in Pinellas County might be eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.  For more information, visit sba.gov/disaster.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should first submit a claim with an 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)


Apply for SBA Loan Programs

Local Support for Business

For help with recovering your business 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 Pinellas 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 business continuity plan, how to rebuild stronger, and an interactive disaster hazard map.
  • IRS Deadline Relief
    Details on IRS Deadline Relief can be found at www.irs.gov/disasters
  • Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR)
    This Emergency Order is issued to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of all Florida policyholders.  More information regarding catastrophe claims data and reporting is available here.
  • Disaster Contractors
    The Pinellas County Contractors Licensing Board warns that if 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 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


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