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Small businesses owners who took a hit from the coronavirus outbreak in Jacksonville can begin applying for city-sponsored relief grants. Photo via Drew Dixon.

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Jacksonville launches COVID-19 small business relief program Monday

Businesses can receive up to $4,500 to offset coronavirus losses.

The highly touted Jacksonville small business relief program designed to help with impacts of the coronavirus outbreak goes into effect on Monday.

The program approved by Mayor Lenny Curry and the Jacksonville City Council will help businesses that have lost revenue retain employees in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program launches at 9 a.m. Monday.

“The actions we took as a city to flatten the curve of COVID-19 were successful, but also placed a heavy burden on small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout our community,” Curry said. “As we work together to safely and responsibly re-open our city and economy, we must do what we can to help affected small businesses and their employees.”

Local and state orders caused many businesses to shut down, particularly those in the service and hospitality industries.

The city dedicated $9 million in funds for the program, which is designed to put relief funding directly into the hands of business owners in Jacksonville. The program distributes one-time-payments of $2,000-$4,500 to qualifying businesses.

The grants will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Business owners can establish the city website accounts immediately and over the weekend, but the grant award process will not begin until 9 a.m. Monday.

Requirements include:

— The business must be located in Duval County.

— Business owners must provide the tax identification assigned to the small business.

— The business must have been in operation for at least one year prior to Feb. 29, 2020.

— The business should not have had more than 100 employees on Feb. 29, 2020;  there’s no minimum number of employees. Sole proprietors qualify.

— Business owners must certify that the business has experienced a reduction in revenue of at least 25% since Feb. 29, 2020, as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Over the past few months our small businesses have taken a big hit. These relief dollars will help those businesses as they start re-opening,” said District 5 City Council member Leanna Cumber who introduced the bill for the program in May.

Written By

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at drewdixonwriting@gmail.com.

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