Funding Sources for Businesses Affected by COVID-19
During this time of economic uncertainty, Orange County Government and its partners want to ensure that local business owners and nonprofits are aware of the financial resources available to help their organizations stay in business. Businesses can use Orange County’s self-service tool to see what loans for which they may qualify.
The federal CARES Act establishes new programs and processes throughout various federal agencies and provides up to $349 billion in economic relief for small businesses. Business owners can visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury to learn more or to apply.
Small Business Association Resources
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
FAQs for Lenders and Borrowers | Calculate Estimated Loan Amounts
Substantial economic injury means the business is unable to meet its obligations and pay its ordinary and necessary operating expenses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses recover from declared disasters. Businesses can apply for loans online through a three-step loan process.
The State of Florida announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment Survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local businesses. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and implement appropriate relief programs.
State and Local Economic Recovery
Effective May 4, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery will implement methodical and data-driven approach to re-open Florida.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Economic Recovery Task Force was established to develop a phased approach to reopening business in Orange County that balances the need to ensure the protection of employees and the public while preserving the economic livelihood of our community.
At this time, employers of essential businesses are asked to implement work-from-home policies as well as practice social distancing for their employees and customers. If you or an employee have symptoms of COVID-19, please refer to the recommended resource links below for how to properly sanitize your workplace to prevent future spread.
The PPE for Small Biz in Orange County Initiative provides personal protective equipment (PPE) to small businesses in Orange County to assist in reopening or sustaining operations, at no cost. Small business owners must fill out an online Interest form to register.
The CDC’s guide provides information for essential business employers who are open to practicing safe protocols.
To assure safe and healthy working conditions, OSHA has created policies to keep employees safe during this public health crisis. Policies on workplace sanitation can be found on page 18 of its Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 handbook.
Testing Sites in Orange County
In addition to the recommended federal protocols, federal and Department of Health testing locations are located in Orange County. For criteria and more information, please visit the main page of www.ocfl.net/Coronavirus.
Building Water Systems
Orange County Utilities is committed to protecting public health by providing the safe and reliable supply of water to its customers with the delivery of over 60 million gallons of water a day and performance of more than 350,000 laboratory analyses every year. But with little or no water running through building water pipes and fixtures for an extended period of time, water quality issues are more likely to proliferate.
As a public service, Orange County Utilities is reminding businesses that have been closed for an extended period of time due to COVID-19, to take the right steps to eliminate water system issues that can potentially occur during a shutdown. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidelines for businesses to follow before they reopen. These guidelines include:
- Flushing water pipes
- Cleaning decorative water features, such as fountains
- Proper water heater, cooling tower, fire sprinkler and eye wash station maintenance
- Hot tub/spa disinfection
Best practices for individual businesses vary and they should follow their specific water management plan and protocols.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provides up to 39 weeks of assistance benefits to individuals who are self-employed, independent contractors, certain non-profit employees and gig economy workers, as well as to individuals working part-time, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular state Reemployment Assistance benefits.
Am I Eligible | Know Before you Apply | PUA Guide | Reemployment vs Pandemic Assistance
Reemployment assistance benefits, formerly known as unemployment compensation, can be mailed in or filed online using the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity portal. Reemployment Assistance provides temporary wage replacement (unemployment insurance) benefits to eligible individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own.
Reemployment FAQs | Mail-In Application | Print and Mail for Free at FedEx
CareerSource Central Florida’s online portal allows users to search for and post hiring needs for regionally available job opportunities, learn more about receiving re-employment assistance, and utilize virtual resources and coaching tools.
The Heart of Florida United Way connects residents to critical health and social service resources. Residents impacted by COVID-19 can contact 2-11 for financial assistance, health programs, crisis support and more. Additionally, businesses looking to contribute to the area’s COVID-19 recovery can donate to United Way’s ALICE Fund.
Additional Resources for Businesses
Economic Resiliency and Community Support (ESF18)
Orange County Government’s Office of Emergency Management has activated a diverse team of experts to provide emergency support resources related to COVID-19 to local businesses across the County. Businesses can call 407-254-8833 or email ESF18@ocfl.net.
The National Entrepreneur Center is home to a variety of business support organizations that provide free business coaching, training opportunities, and connections to available business resources. During the COVID-19 public-health crisis, all of these services are accessible online only.
Businesses that may have products or services that can assist Orange County Government and other local partners during this public health crisis can provide their information on our Central Florida Innovation Contact Form.
Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh announced on Thursday, March 26, 2020, that a 45-day extension will be granted for all Tangible Personal Property (TPP) tax returns. TPP tax returns are now due on May 15, 2020, instead of the standard April 1 deadline.