St. Pete/Clearwater area beaches have not been impacted by Red Tide to date
PINELLAS COUNTY, FLA (August 15, 2018) – On Monday, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for seven Gulf Coast counties, including Pinellas and Hillsborough, because of the red tide bloom south of Pinellas County’s coast.
In conjunction with the announcement, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses who continue to be affected by the impacts and the perception of red tide. The bridge loan program provides short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses experiencing physical or economic loss.
Although none of the St. Pete/Clearwater area beaches have been impacted to date, the County was included in the bridge loan program and state of emergency because the bloom’s trajectory is unpredictable, the area could be affected in the future and the perception of red tide could impact local businesses.
The latest forecasting from Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) continues to keep the red tide bloom south of Pinellas County. FWC’s latest water testing samples and satellite imagery will be updated again later this week.
Small businesses in Pinellas County may apply for assistance through October 12, 2018.
Small business owners with two to 100 employees located in Pinellas County can apply for short-term loans up to $50,000. These loans are granted interest-free for 180 days, and after that period accrue at 18% per annum during the term of the loan. To be eligible, a business must demonstrate economic injury or physical damage as a result of the red tide or the perception of red tide. To review the full of applicant criteria, please visit http://www.floridadisasterloan.org
For questions and assistance with the Florida Emergency Bridge Loan program, please contact the Florida Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County Economic Development at www.PCED.org/SBDC or (727) 453-7200.
Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED) works with existing businesses to encourage expansion and seeks to attract new companies with high-wage careers to our community. Through investment tools, business classes, professional consulting services, trade missions to open new markets, and strategic partnerships, PCED fosters a pro-business environment and promotes the ideal business climate of Pinellas County, Florida.