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Local businesses begin getting relief thanks to COVID-19 Economic Relief Program

Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 17:27:46-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — For weeks, small businesses have had to adjust how they operate because COVID-19. With no telling how long it'll be before they can go back to normal, businesses owners are looking for some help to stay afloat.

The Office of Economic Vitality created a grant program to help businesses stay in business. For many, getting that money is necessary to staying open.

With stay at home orders across the state of Florida, businesses are feeling the pinch.

"We had already starting rotating our employees and sharing hours. meaning hours were cut drastically," said Jay Morrell, the owner of Earley's Kitchen.

For Earley's Kitchen, things were going great. The business just secured a contract to open three additional locations in state buildings.

But when Florida started to brace for the coronavirus, business slowed down. That's why the Office of Economic Vitality worked to created the COVID 19 Economic Relief Program.

"Our job is to assist all of our businesses here in Tallahassee, Leon County. whether it's through good times and you're growing or in times like we're in right now and you're looking for resources to help you make the decisions you need to make to help you continue to move froward," said Christina Paredes.

The Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality worked to create the COVID-19 Economic Relief Program, giving small businesses with 50 employees or less a chance of up to $5,000 in grant money.

"it's helping you cover some of those key operational expenses in these crucial first few weeks."

"The main focus of the funds will be used primarily for payroll," said Morell.

In just a little more than a day, Earley's Kitchen and 67 other businesses were awarded the money.

The grant is just in time for the owners of Chop Barber Shop who were recently approved for the grant. The barbershop had to close multiple locations.

So far, at least 68 businesses have been able to cash in on those grants, each hoping the virus does not shut them down for good.

The Office for Economic Vitality expects to have awarded 100 grants before the day is over.

For more information on how to apply, click here.