For questions related to Hernando County and COVID-19, call the COVID-19 Public Information Center line at:
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Monday - Friday
18900 Cortez Boulevard
Brooksville, FL 34601
Florida Department of Health
See the Florida Department of Health's guidelines and recommendations for businesses and employers. This includes updates on executive orders, assistance and how to properly prepare for COVID-19.
If you have questions about your business being an essential service or would like to request for your business to be added to the approved list of essential services outlined in Executive Order Number 20-91, fill out the FDEM and FDOH Essential Services and Activities Inquiry Form.
Business Damage Assessment Survey
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida's local businesses, including those in Hernando County. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement economic relief programs for businesses can begin.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
To help small business owners and entrepreneurs better understand the new programs that will soon be available to them, we have created a comprehensive guide to many of the small business provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress. These programs and initiatives are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now.
When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain non-profits and other employers. This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.
To keep up to date on when these programs become available, please stay in contact with your local SBA District Office.
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is available to small business owners in all Florida counties statewide that experienced economic damage from COVID-19.
These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.
Effective 3/24/20 – all inquiries must be directed to the Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) COVID-19 Call Center: 1-833-832-4494. All loan applications must be completed online at the DEO's website http://www.floridajobs.org/rebuildflorida/businessrecovery.
Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce
Find a list of useful links, daily updates and learning opportunities for business owners at www.hernandochamber.com.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan
Passed by Congress, and signed by the President, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act established the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for eligible small businesses.
Unlike existing federal business disaster loans currently available through the SBA, the Paycheck Protection Program Loans may be, in whole or in part, forgiven, i.e. not required to be repaid, if used loan proceeds are used for specific purposes. It is important that borrowers clearly understand how and when loan proceeds can be used to maximize the amount of loan forgiveness.
Reemployment Assistance (RA) Benefits
Reemployment Assistance provides temporary wage replacement benefits to eligible individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own. If your employment has been negatively impacted as a result of the mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive RA benefits. File your claim by accessing the CONNECT system as a claimant at https://connect.myflorida.com
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is now accepting physical applications for Reemployment Assistance. Download the form for Reemployment Assistance. Once completed, mail to: P.O. Box 5350, Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350
People who need assistance filing a claim online because of legal reasons, computer illiteracy, language barriers, or disabilities may call 1-800-204-2418 or visit FloridaJobs.org.
Small Business Administration Loan Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest, long-term disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters to repair or replace uninsured/under-insured disaster damaged property. SBA disaster loans offer an affordable way for individuals and businesses to recover from declared disasters.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program details:
- Small businesses can qualify for up to $2 million
- No limit on number of employees (**businesses with only 1 employee are eligible, unlike with the EBL Program)
- Interest rates of 3.75 percent for-profit and 2.75 percent non-profit
- Applicants do not go through a bank to apply
- Business owners apply directly to SBA’s Disaster Assistance Program athttps://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
- The Florida Small Business Development Center at USF will assist applicants in completing their forms, when requested
Automatic Deferment on Existing SBA Disaster Loans Through End of 2020 - SBA loans from previous disasters automatically defer through December 31, 2020. Now, borrowers of home and business disaster loans do not have to contact SBA to request deferment.
Treasury and IRS
Following President Donald J. Trump’s emergency declaration pursuant to the Stafford Act, the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest. The guidance also allows corporate taxpayers a similar deferment of up to $10 million of federal income tax payments that would be due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.
The U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.
The Act will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee's own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.
Short-Time Compensation Program
Short-Time Compensation (STC) permits pro-rated Reemployment Assistance (RA) benefits to employees whose work hours and earnings are reduced as part of a STC plan to avoid total layoff of some employees. This program allows Employers to avoid the expense of recruiting, hiring, and training new workers when business conditions improve. While employees are spared the hardships of full unemployment, employers are able to retain employees who can resume high production levels when business conditions improve. More about the Short-time Compensation Program can be found on FloridaJobs.org.