Jacksonville small business coronavirus aid program maxes out on first day

There was funding for 4,500 businesses. 5,000 and counting showed up.

The first day for accepting applications for Jacksonville’s small business coronavirus financial assistance program may be the only day for business owners to apply for the program as the city quickly reached its maximum of 4,500 applicants within five hours.

Monday was the first day for applications to the highly touted program designed to help Jacksonville small businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. By noon Monday, more than 3,000 local business owners had submitted applications online and by 1:30 p.m. that figure had jumped above 5,000.

“We reached the max at 1:20 p.m. [Monday] and we are now taking businesses for the waiting list. We have about 5,000 total so far,” said Nikkie Kimbleton, spokesperson for Mayor Lenny Curry.

While the program was officially launched Monday morning, the city encouraged online applications over the preceding weekend.

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. The program distributes one-time-payments of $2,000-$4,500 to qualifying businesses.

Early applications were critical in helping the city decide who gets what financial assistance because the grants will be disbursed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The city has not indicated if it will close the application window. Small business owners have to establish an account with Jacksonville on the city’s website and then meet a host of requirements before grants are distributed.

Requirements include:

— The business must be 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.

Drew Dixon

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 [email protected].


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