Florida opens bridge loan program for small businesses
March 16, 2020 - Florida will make a $50 million bridge loan program available to small businesses in the state, as the state addresses the economic consequences of Covid-19 coronavirus. The bridge loans will supplement Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to the U.S. Small Business Administration for additional financial help. The bridge loans will available to small businesses in all counties in the state with between two and 100 employees. Under the program, up to $50,000 will be available immediately for businesses, with a limit of one loan per business. The loans have a one-year term at 0 percent fixed rate interest and no prepayment penalty, DeSantis said at a late afternoon news conference. “If you are in some of these industries that are really getting hit, you have a cash flow issue, particularly if you have tight margins. So this is a way to keep people afloat,” DeSantis said. The bridge loan program may be expanded in the future, based on demand and necessity, he said. He also directed the Department of Revenue to provide flexibility on deadlines of taxes due, including corporate income tax and sales tax. Some payments can be deferred until the end of the year, DeSantis said. DeSantis did not make any new announcement on restaurant or bar restrictions as had been anticipated. DeSantis said he’s still studying recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.