Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program to aid Panhandle businesses impacted by Hurricane Sally.
The zero-interest loans are intended to help small business that suffered physical damage or economic injury during Hurricane Sally. Roughly $5 million has been allocated for the program.
“The intense wind, rain and flooding from Hurricane Sally has led to extensive damage in Northwest Florida,” DeSantis said in a news release. “We are working diligently to help these communities recover and I encourage affected small business owners to apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan to assist them with necessary funding to rebuild.”
Small business owners impacted by the storm with two to 100 employees in Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties can apply and be eligible for short terms loans up to $50,000 or $100,000.
The loan is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
“We want to do all we can to help the families, businesses, and communities affected by Hurricane Sally recover quickly and be resilient for the future,” said DEO Executive Director Dane Eagle. “Hurricane Sally has brought destructive coastal area flooding to Northwest Florida, and DEO will continue to work with these businesses and communities during the recovery process.”
The application period for the loan will begin Wednesday and continue through Nov. 14, or once available funds run out.
On Thursday, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried brought up the loan’s pending activation during a Cabinet meeting.
She added that the state’s emergency bridge loan program to assist agriculture producers facing losses.
Hurricane Sally made landfall along the Florida/Alabama border on Sept. 16. The Category 2 storm poured nearly 30 inches of rain and caused dramatic flooding across portions of the Florida Panhandle.
In all, flooding caused 100% crop loss and impacted 100,000 acres peanuts, cotton and hay; 10,000 acres of corn; and 4,000 acres of horse farms.
More information on the emergency loan can be found online.