submitted by Washington County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
- The Florida SBDC Network and the U.S. Small Business Administration have opened Business Recovery Centers (BRCs) to assist small businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael. Small businesses can get assistance applying for state and federal business disaster loans. BRCs are open Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and are located at: CareerSource, Bay County City Job Center, Panama City; Taylor County, Super Puffs Snacks, Perry; Wakulla County Community Center, Crawfordville, and Franklin County Public Library, Carrabelle.
- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is working with the Capital Area Action Agency to allow them to repurpose some of the FEMA surplus trailers that are not currently needed for Eastpoint residents as a temporary housing solution for Franklin County residents who have been impacted by Hurricane Michael.
- DEO has begun to review zoning maps for the impacted areas to assist in identifying temporary housing solutions.
- Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida has been awarded federal National Dislocated Worker Grants to provide temporary employment to Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael. This program is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and provides disaster relief employment in the form of temporary jobs that support storm response and recovery efforts. See the Governor’s press release HERE.
- Executive Director Cissy Proctor will be meeting with area businesses and CareerSource in Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla counties this week.
- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is working with CareerSource North Florida and CareerSource Northeast Florida to send mobile units, along with staff and resources, including water, gas, generators, flashlights and satellite phones to allow CareerSource partners in the panhandle to begin assisting jobseekers and businesses as a part of the recovery efforts.
- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has made the Disaster Reemployment Assistance program available for Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Michael. To file a DUA claim go to www.FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-385-3920. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to assist claimants.
- DEO has launched the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans to affects businesses at www.floridadisasterloan.org.
- Disaster cleanup and other related job openings are now available at http://disasterrecovery.employflorida.com for businesses to post job openings and for individuals to find job opportunities.
- DEO has opened the Business Damage Assessment Survey for businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael. Businesses with damage should complete the survey at https://www.floridadisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments
- Businesses can also visit FloridaDisaster.biz to view tips for assessing storm damage and to register to receive updates on storm recovery.
- To help residents and emergency personnel stay connected following the storm, Comcast is opening its network of more than 8,000 Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout the Florida Panhandle, including Tallahassee, Panama City, Panama City Beach and surrounding areas and the Dothan, Alabama area, to anyone to use for free, including non-Xfinity customers.
- The state has opened the Private Sector Hotline at (850) 815-4925. The hotline is available for business inquiries about the storm, preparedness information and post-impact information.
- VISIT Florida has activated the Expedia/VISIT Florida Hotel Accommodation Web Portal to support evacuation orders. Visit www.expedia.com/florida to find available hotel rooms.
- Airbnb Open Homes is now active in Alabama, Florida and Georgia in response to Hurricane Michael. Visit www.airbnb.com/HurricaneMichael for open homes.
- The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association provided thousands of meals to first responders, volunteers and residents in Calhoun, Gadsden, Leon, Liberty and Jackson counties, and well as clean linens to a shelter in Panama City.
- The Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association continue to share disaster recovery information with their business affiliates.
- The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) offers a Hurricane Guide with information about recovery, and helpful hurricane-related resources. DBPR has shared the Guide on social media and it is available at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/documents/HurricaneGuide_web.pdf