$250 Billion Business Aid Package Stalled 

A $250 billion bill to supplement a “business paycheck protection program” in response to disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic will not be fast-tracked through the Senate. Democratic Senators did not give unanimous consent to pushing the bill through in its current form, requesting that “protections for minority-owned businesses” and “matching money for health care providers and state” and municipal governments be added. The general purpose of the bill has received support from both parties and from President Trump.  

Local Elections Pushed Back Due to COVID-19 Concerns 

Three local Pasco County elections will be pushed back in response to COVID-19 concerns. The elections were originally planned to take place next Tuesday. An executive order issued yesterday from Governor DeSantis postponed elections in Dade City, San Antonio, and Zephyrhills. DeSantis has also said he is willing to “work with local governments that want to move elections”.  

Grant Opportunities from St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs for Small Businesses  

The City of St. Petersburg’s Fighting Chance Fund offers an opportunity for emergency grant funds for small businesses and employees. Small business grants that meet the eligibility requirements can receive up to $5,000 under the program. To be eligible, businesses have to be independently-owned and operated in St. Pete by a resident of St. Pete and employ no more than 25 people. Employee grants up to $500 are available; eligible recipients must reside in St. Petersburg and have been fired, furloughed, or have a 50% pay cut from a business eligible for the small business grant. Applications open today and will remain open until funds are exhausted.  

Tarpon Springs City Commission’s Small Business Endurance Grants offer $1,000 one-time grants to eligible small businesses in Tarpon Springs. The application period will be open from April 9 to April 23, or until funds are exhausted. $100,000 from the City’s emergency reserve funds have been authorized for the program. Eligible businesses must operate in Tarpon Spring, have no more than 50 employees, have been affected by COVID-19, be able to demonstrate a revenue loss, and have no outstanding fines. 

Florida Education Foundation Launches Distance Learning Innovation Mini Grant Program 

The Florida Education Foundation has launched the Distance Learning Innovation Mini Grant Program to encourage the implementation of solutions to distance learning challenges. Priorities will be given to applicants that serve majority free and/or reduced lunch populations, reach learners and/or educators on a large scale, meet urgent needs, and present innovative solutions. Apply here from April 8 to April 17: https://floridaeducationfoundation.org/mini-grants 

Virtual Spring Commencement for University of South Florida 

The University of South Florida will offer a virtual commencement ceremony in May for spring graduates. Printed copies of the program will be available upon request. Additional in-person ceremonies have been added to the planned August ceremonies so that spring graduates can participate. 

Masks Now Mandatory in Miami 

As of this morning, it is now mandatory to wear face masks in retail businesses in Miami. This order applies to grocery stores, pharmacies, delivery workers, and construction workers. Local police will enforce the protocol and businesses that don’t comply can be “fined or shut down”.  

Updated Numbers   

There are now 16,364 cases throughout the state of Florida and 354 deaths. In Duval County, there are 589 cases and 11 deaths. In Hillsborough County, there are 644 cases and 9 deaths. In Orange County, there are 857 cases and 11 deaths. In Pinellas County, there are 413 cases and 10 deaths. In Polk County, there are 212 cases and 6 deaths. For updated data, visit: https://fdoh.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/8d0de33f260d444c852a615dc7837c86.  

Resources    

WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public    

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html    

Florida Department of Health: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/    

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: https://www.uschamber.com/coronavirus    

Florida Chamber of Commerce: https://www.flchamber.com/follow-facts-not-fear/ 

Tampa Chamber of Commerce: https://www.tampabaychamber.com/Your-Chamber/Newsroom/coronavirus-updates.aspx 

Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce: https://jaxchamber.com/coronavirusbusinessresources/ 
Lakeland Chamber of Commerce: https://www.lakelandchamber.com/covid-19-resources/ 

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