Relief coming to small businesses in Hillsborough County, officials say

Local News

FILE – In this April 2, 2020 file photo, a notice of closure is posted at The Great Frame Up in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. The government is closing in on the $349 billion lending limit on its Paycheck Protection Program that is sending relief money to the nation’s small businesses. The Small Business Administration says that it has approved more than 1.6 million loans worth more than $339 billion. The program will likely reach its ceiling Thursday, April 16. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The coronavirus crisis has hit businesses, particularly small businesses, especially hard.

8 On Your Side learned Monday that relief is en route.

During a Emergency Policy Group (EPG) meeting with local leaders Monday, Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said federal funds are on the way.

“The county has received $256 million in coronavirus aid relief through the CARES Act,” Merrill said.

The CARES Act is the relief approved by Congress and President Donald Trump.

Merrill said residents and small business owners can apply for funds. Information on how to do that is forthcoming.

8 On Your Side is also following the One Tampa relief program, which helps struggling small businesses and residents who lost their jobs or got their pay decreased as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said during the meeting that the city received 10,000 calls, applications and inquires last Friday when the site went live.

On Monday, the city posted the following on its site: “We have received the maximum number of individual/family applications at this time. The online application process is now closed. We are reviewing applications against the qualifying criteria and will notify individuals of the outcome of their applications within the next 10 days or less.”

But the way to rebound, according to one small business owner who spoke during the EPG meeting, is to let businesses get back on their feet the natural way.

“Opening our economy is the humane thing to do. And as a small business owner myself, I want to encourage you to consider allowing businesses all over Hillsborough County the opportunity to open back up, providing they can adhere to current CDC guidelines,” the man said.

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