St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor and City Administrator Kanika Tomalin announced the details of the city’s Fighting Chance Fund Friday morning.
The grant program will provide $5,000 to eligible small businesses in the city as well as $500 to eligible employees who are either out of work or whose salaries were significantly impacted.
“St. Pete is facing an unprecedented public health challenge, but our city doesn’t stand alone. Cities and towns across America are struggling through this uncertainty just as we are. And although we are not alone in facing this global pandemic, we must lead the way in ensuring the safety and well being for all of our citizens,” Tomalin said in a video taped in front of the city’s Greenhouse.
The Greenhouse, a public private partnership between the city and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, will facilitate the funds.
Applications for grants will begin being collected April 9.
Small businesses located in the city that qualify include those most impacted by the coronavirus crisis including bars, restaurants, night clubs, pet services, retail establishments, fitness centers and event space.
To qualify, the independent owner and operator must not only operate the business within city limits, they must also live within the city.
St. Pete’s locally owned businesses are the backbone of this city.
Only those businesses with 25 or fewer employees are eligible for the grants.
Employees at those businesses must also be St. Pete residents to qualify for the $500 grant offered in the new program. Those employees must have either lost their job or experienced a pay cut of at least half of their normal earnings.
“While we remain focused on public health and ensuring compliance with the CDC social distancing guidelines to save as many people as possible, we must also begin to think ahead about the economic impact COVID-19 will have on our city,” Tomalin said.
She estimates that about 900 businesses in St. Pete will qualify for the program as well as some 3,000 employees.
No payback is required on the grants, but the money may be considered taxable income and subject to IRS tax filing.
More information is on the city’s website on a dedicated page for information about the program and instructions on how to apply.