We’re a day and a half into Phase 1 of the Governors "Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step Plan" to reopen our state, and I’m heartened by how many of our businesses we’re seeing implement rigorous safety measures to reopen and to protect their staff and customers.
New County Grant for Small Businesses
I have spent the afternoon listening to the County Commission meeting in which they discussed the use of $125 million in federal funding given to the County through the CARES Act. The County has allocated $40 million of that fund to the Polk Prospers Fund, aimed at helping our county's small businesses.
There will also be funding for individuals looking for financial assistance and more details to come on that soon.
While there are many variables still to be established (the timeframes and how applications will be received & reviewed, logistics of how funds will be disbursed to the recipients etc), here's what we have right now. Of course, as soon as I have these details I will send them right out to you:
Polk Prospers Fund
The County Commission has $40m in CARES Act funding which they have allocated to provide temporary financial relief to small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 emergency
Business Entity Requirements
- Small businesses designated by number of employees would receive the following amounts:
- Self employed $1,000
- 2 to 9 employees $2,500
- 10 to 25 employees $5,000
- Must substantiate negative impact by the COVID-19 emergency.
- Have not been approved or received funds from PPP or EIDL or received SBA Debt Relief.
- Must be headquartered and located physically in Polk County, Florida.
- Has to be legally established and in good standing in Polk County and the State of Florida prior to February 15, 2020.
- Expects to resume normal operations after emergency guidelines are lifted.
- Has more than 25 employees.
- May not be a subsidiary or partially owned by a publicly traded company or hedge fund.
- Companies with legal actions against or from the County, including code enforcement liens.
- Funds will be offered on a first come, first served basis until the allocation is exhausted.
- The funding amounts are $1000, $2500 and $5000 determined by the size of the company applying.
- The funds are disbursed as a grant to qualified businesses. Allocated funds do not have to be repaid
- The funding to be used to help offset business expenses including, but not limited to commercial mortgage, lease, business utilities and payroll.
- Online applications accessed through Polk County website and a paper application process is being discussed
- Secure documentation will be uploaded via the application system.
- Applicant will digitally sign and certify information.
- Statement of need.
- IRS Form 941 (for businesses with more than 2 employees).
- Copy of active Sunbiz business registration dated prior to February 15, 2020.
Other Restart news:
As the Governor's plan rolls out, I’d encourage you to continue to check in with the FAQ’s page our partners at the Florida Chamber have complied. Click here to read.
A couple of FAQ’s we have further information on:
- While medical offices such as dental, optometrists, opticians and day surgery centers etc. are allowed to reopen they have to follow the new protocols that limit their ability to be ‘fully open’. For example, with social distancing, new equipment measures, and occupancy limitations their ability to schedule clients may be reduced so please check in with your individual provider for appointments and be patient with them.
- Retail & Restaurants are able to open at 25% capacity right now, and each individual business is doing so as the safety requirements allow them to. Some restaurants are remaining as take out only, other retailers and restaurants are only opening certain hours. We endeavor to keep the restaurants page updated on our website, but please check in with your chosen restaurant and retailer (website, Facebook page or call them) to see their individual hours and operation.
- Repeat note: If your business is within City limits, and you have questions about what occupancy your premises allow please contact City Hall at 863-291-5600 and ask for the Fire Marshall.
Other Recovery news
U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Resources on COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses:
The IRS has made available a host of resources to provide guidance and answers to frequently asked questions pertaining to the COVID-19 related tax credits required for paid leave policies provided by small and midsize businesses. The resources and the FAQ document can be found on their webpage here.
I know we are all anxious to get more information on this grant from the County Commission and I will send this out to you as soon as it is ratified. I continue to be heartened by your ingenuity, resilience and creativity in these challenging times, and I know that at the other side of this we will be stronger than ever!
Kindest regards - Amanda-Jo
Amanda-Jo Nicholson, IOM
Vice President of Member Services
Cell: (863) 242-6934
Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce
Tel: (863) 293-2138
Our Vision: To advance Commerce and Community
Our Mission: Serving, Representing and Enhancing Business Growth