ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The City of St. Petersburg is offering grants, not only to help businesses that might otherwise go under, but also to help individual employees.
The Fighting Chance Fund is an emergency grant for small businesses in the city of St. Pete.
The fund is to help offer support for nearly 1,000 restaurants, bars, retail and service-based businesses impacted by the local COVID-19 "Safer-at-Home" order.
Small businesses can apply for a $5,000 grant and eligible employees can get $500.
Local business owner Christy Faris who owns Christy's Enchanted Notions, says small businesses like hers need all the help they can get.
"Anything we can do to keep our economy and keep the businesses open so that when we do resume back to normal we’re not a bunch of empty vacant stores. Because the franchises might have a little bit more money to help hang on, but us small owners won’t be able to," said Faris.
The City of St. Petersburg says eligibility is defined as:
Small businesses, independently-owned and operated within St. Pete, by a resident of St. Pete, that employs 25 people or less. This includes restaurants, bars, retail and service industries. The full list available here.
Employees who reside within the city limits who have been terminated, furloughed or whose salary has been reduced at least 50% from a restaurant, bar, retail or service-based business that is eligible for the business grant.
To receive funding through this program, the city says each business will be required to clearly share how it will use city funds, in keeping with the program's eligible uses: commercial rent or mortgage payments, utilities, payroll, retention of employees or employee support programs.
"Our locally-owned businesses are the backbone of this city and we are committed to giving them a fighting chance to survive this crisis and emerge stronger than ever," said Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg Mayor.
"While public health is our first priority during this crisis, we are also focused on the future and St. Pete's economic recovery. The Fighting Chance Fund is a first step to help our beloved local businesses not only survive this time, but thrive when it ends," said Dr. Kanika Tomalin, City Administrator and Deputy Mayor
The city says updated applications will be available Thursday, April 30. They will be reviewed within 15 business days, starting on May 4.