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COVID-19 UPDATES - Sept 23, 2020

COVID-19 BUSINESS RESOURCE CENTER: VolusiaBusinessResources.com

THIS IS NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS WEEK – NUMEROUS VIRTUAL CONFERENCES ARE AVAILABLE ALL WEEK – As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration and co-sponsors will host virtual events on Sept. 23 and 24. Educational panels will demonstrate retooling and innovative practices for entrepreneurs as our nation’s small businesses look to pivot and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. The schedule also includes recognition of America’s outstanding entrepreneurs, shining a spotlight on the nation’s 30 million small businesses across the country, with awards for Small Business Exporter of the Year, Phoenix Awards for Disaster Recovery and announcing the National Small Business Person of the Year. Details and registration information are posted on the SBA website.

SBA COVID-19 ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN (EIDL) APPLICATIONS STILL BEING ACCEPTED – Eligible small businesses, private nonprofits and agricultural businesses can still apply for a Small Business Administration EIDL loan until Dec 18. The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief to businesses currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to COVID-19. EIDL proceeds can be used to cover a wide array of working capital and normal operating expenses, such as continuation of health care benefits, rent, utilities and fixed debt payments.

FEDERAL RESERVE LOAN PROGRAM FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESSES – The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston administers the Main Street Lending Program. The program is designed to help credit flow to small- and medium-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, but now need loans to maintain operations until recovery from the pandemic. The program offers five-year loans to assist those experiencing temporary cash flow interruptions with floating rates, two-year principal deferrals, and one-year interest payments deferrals. Loans can range from $250,000 to $300 million. Main Street loans are not grants and cannot be forgiven. Interested businesses and nonprofits can apply through an eligible lender to determine if they meet the program requirements and the lender’s own underwriting standards. The lender will determine loan approval. The Fed will participate in the lending by purchasing a 95% interest in the loan; the lender will retain 5%.

SMALL BUSINESS REOPENING GRANTS STILL AVAILABLE – Qualifying businesses with a physical, brick-and-mortar location in a commercial or industrial space in Volusia County may be eligible to receive a one-time Reopening Grant Program grant of $3,000 if they have 25 or fewer employees, or $5,000 if they have 26 to 50 employees. The grant is made available to help small businesses recover from negative financial consequences resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the grant program’s inception, more than 2,800 grants have been awarded totaling $7.1 million. Funds are still available. Brick-and-mortar businesses should review the grant criteria and apply onlinePlease note this is a one-time grant. If you have previously received funds from this grant program, a second application will be denied.

HOME-BASED BUSINESS GRANTS STILL AVAILABLE – Qualifying home-based businesses located in Volusia County may be eligible to receive a one-time grant of $1,500 if they have up to 50 employees to help them recover from negative financial consequences resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and relaunch their Volusia County business. Review the complete list of grant criteria details and apply onlinePlease note this is a one-time grant. If you have previously received funds from this grant program, a second application will be denied.

ENTERPRISE FLORIDA EXPANDS VIRTUAL BUSINESS MATCHMAKING ASSISTANCE TO JAPAN AND TAIWAN – Enterprise Florida is offering Virtual Business Matchmaking (VBM) in Japan and Taiwan to help companies extend their global footprint to untapped markets. EFI’s international representative in Japan and Taiwan provides virtual Business Matchmaking in these markets. The VBM delivers virtual introductions via teleconference or video conference with five interested agents, distributors or partners in your target markets who have been pre-screened and pre-qualified. The advantages are that you define ideal partner criteria and pick desired meeting partners from a long list of suitable, qualified companies. Enterprise Florida offers reimbursable trade grants to eligible businesses to cover the full cost of the matchmaking, making the service completely free. For more information, contact EFI Central Florida Regional Trade Manager Michael CooneyView complete Terms and Conditions.

DEVELOPING A BUSINESS IDEA INTO A VIABLE BUSINESS MODEL – New business ideas are always exciting, but are not always viable. The key is to test and develop your idea into a product or service that customers actually want. The Volusia County UCF Incubator’s Business Modeling Boot Camp is an eight-week virtual program that can teach you how to describe, design, challenge and pivot your business model into a viable opportunity. Classes will be held via Zoom from noon to 1:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday from Oct. 1 through Nov. 24. While classes include lectures and case studies, the program focuses more on doing than observing. Attendees will be expected to conduct customer interviews and competitive analyses, perform elevator pitches, design their own Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas, complete homework, and develop a minimal viable product. Learn more about eligibility and how to register.

INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYERS

VOLUSIA BUSINESS RESOURCES WEBSITE LAUNCHED – The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major NEW disruptions to the business community. But at the same time, this global health crisis has resulted in countywide collaboration among economic development and emergency response teams to harness countless economic resources and present it all in one virtual location. Volusia County’s Economic Development division is leading the effort, serving as the coordinator between cities and agencies, as the clearinghouse of information, and by creating a new website -- VolusiaBusinessResources.com -- to serve as a countywide source of assistance and incentive program information for businesses. The website will include all federal, state, regional, county and private-sector resources, webinars and provide direct links to Volusia County’s cities’ resources pages. Read the complete release here.

COUNTY ANNOUNCES RELAUNCH VOLUSIA & PHASED REOPENING ACTIONSOn April 29, Volusia County announced its next steps for a gradual, phased-in reopening of county services and facilities, lifting restrictions on beach activities, opening a limited amount of additional off-beach parking, and providing public access to library computers by appointment. The new relaxed beach rules took effect this past weekend, and residents should continue to heed all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Residents in high-risk categories were urged to play it safe to limit their risk of exposure. This phased reopening is part of Relaunch Volusia, which is the county’s named plan to reopen services and facilities that were scaled back to mitigate the spread of the virus. The full plan for county government is being finalized and is expected to be a primary topic at tomorrow’s County Council meeting. Every division in the county is putting together a phased-in approach. The continued implementation of Relaunch Volusia will largely depend on a continuing reduction in new COVID-19 cases in conjunction with more testing availability and guidance from the Governor’s office regarding reopening the state. Information on the State of Florida executive order on phased reopening issued on April 29 can be found here.

FEDERAL RESOURCES

SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN PROGRAM 

  • SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Programs and resources
  • Government Contracting Guide

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM

  • The SBA is currently unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program based on available appropriations funding.

IRS EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT 

  • The Employee Retention Credit is designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in qualifying wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. The credit is available to all employers, including tax-exempt organizations, regardless of size.

IRS ESTABLISHES DEDICATED COVID-19 TAX RELIEF WEBPAGE 

PREVENT WORKPLACE EXPOSURE

STATE RESOURCES

FLORIDA EMERGENCY BRIDGE LOAN PROGRAM

FLORIDA SHORT TERM COMPENSATION PROGRAM

  • As part of the state’s Reemployment Assistance programs, Florida’s Short-Time Compensation (STC) program for employers pays partial benefits to groups of employees working reduced hours.
  • Employers may elect to participate in this program to retain valued employees by reducing hours for an entire group of employees instead of resorting to temporary layoffs. Individuals participating in an employer-sponsored training may also be eligible to participate in the program. STC benefits are payable when normal hours of work are reduced from 10%-40%.
  • Participating employees must be full-time (at least 32 hours per week prior to Short Time Compensation reduction), permanent employees (not seasonal) and the employees must have a set number of hours (excluding overtime) that they work each week in order to participate.
  • Questions should be directed to the Reemployment Assistance Hotline at 1-800-204-2418 for assistance from the Reemployment Assistance unit.

FLORIDADISASTER.BIZ

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE (FDOR) ESTABLISHES DEDICATED COVID-19 TEAM 

  • Contact the call center at 850-488-6800 or email COVID19TAXHELP@FloridaRevenue.com with tax-related issues pertaining to COVID-19
  • FDOR encourages all taxpayers to conduct their business through online services. Visit FloridaRevenue.com for information and answers to your questions.
  • Use e-services applications on the website to file and pay taxes.

KEEP FLORIDA GROWING WEB PORTAL

  • Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried has launched the Keep Florida Growing webpage, a one-stop online portal with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ COVID-19 food and agriculture-related information.
  • The COVID-19 virus has impacted Florida agriculture, the state’s second-largest economic driver, and the new one-stop page is a response designed to support Florida’s consumers and agriculture community.
  • The portal features the Florida Farm To You commodities list, where agriculture producers can have their farm-fresh products listed to be found by buyers, food banks and consumers. Florida’s consumers can access food-related information including a U-pick farm locator that finds farm-fresh produce.

TAKE THE EMERGENCY BUSINESS DAMAGE ASSESSMENT SURVEY

SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION PLANNING

GOVERNOR DESANTIS EXECUTIVE ORDERS


FLORIDA STATE AGENCY COVID-19 UPDATES 

The below listed State of Florida business operations and transportation related information was part of the March 15 update issued online by the State of Florida Joint Information Center on COVID-19. Here is the latest complete update available: http://www.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2020/03/031520-2110-covid19.pr.html.

  • AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION (AHCA) AHCA will be granting a 90-day extension to all licenses for health care providers and regulated facilities.
  • FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (FDOT) FDOT Secretary Thibault and staff from the department will host weekly conference calls with all passenger seaports and public use airports to provide updates related to COVID-19.  Also, pursuant to Executive Order 20-52 issued by Governor Ron DeSantis, FDOT Secretary Thibault has suspended size and weight restrictions for divisible loads on any vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies and necessary agricultural commodities on state roads.
  • FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES (FLHSMV) Pursuant to Executive Order 20-52, FLHSMV Executive Director Rhodes waived commercial truck hours of service regulations and other related regulations so that emergency supplies, equipment, commodities and resources can be moved more quickly and efficiently throughout the state.
  • OFFICE OF INSURANCE REGULATION (OIR) OIR has issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-02M as a reminder to all health insurers, health maintenance organizations and other health entities to allow for early prescription refills following the Governor’s Executive Order 20-52 declaring a state of emergency in Florida.

GENERAL INFORMATION ON COVID-19

VOLUSIA COUNTY BUSINESS RELATED ASSISTANCE

For COVID-19 related business assistance from the Volusia County Division of Economic Development, call 386-248-8048 or e-mail doed@volusia.org.

What We Do

The Volusia County Division of Economic Development assists business owners and works collaboratively with local stakeholders. We provide assistance at no cost to businesses with the desire and potential for growth within Volusia County.

The Division can help start-ups, second-stage, or maturing businesses directly or refer owners to other qualified organizations. Our economic development ‘ecosystem’ is focused on creating higher value, higher wage jobs.

While other community partners focus on recruiting new businesses to our county, the Economic Development Division assists existing Volusia County firms and entrepreneurs who are positioning themselves for new growth.  Incrementally growing the 13,935 established businesses already in our county offers the potential for significant economic growth and long term economic health.

In 2017, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach MSA, which encompasses Volusia County, was $15 billion. Our rapidly growing economy, now in the top 40% of all MSA's nationally, is driven by thousands of local enterprises that produce a variety of goods and services, creating jobs and stimulating even greater investment. Area companies not only support local commerce but also transact business throughout the world generating up to $437 million in exports, annually.