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St. Petersburg Announces $6.8 Million In Funding For Small Businesses, Employees

Welcome mat with the text  "Fighting Chance Fund" overlaid
Courtesy of City of St. Petersburg
The Fighting Chance Fund will provide emergency aid to the city's nearly 3,000 employees.

The City of St. Petersburg announced a $6.8 million grant program for local businesses designed to help small business owners and employees get through the economic impact of stay-at-home orders.

The Fighting Chance Fund will provide $5,000 grants for local businesses, while employees who have been laid-off or furloughed during the pandemic may receive up to $500 in aid.

Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin said the program was created to help the city's nearly 900 small businesses and their employees.

“While public health is our first priority during this crisis, we are also focused on the future and St. Pete’s economic recovery,” Tomalin said in a Facebook video announcing the program.

“The Fighting Chance Fund is a first step to help our beloved local businesses not only survive this time, but thrive when it ends.”

RELATED: What DeSantis' Stay-At-Home Order Means For You

Independently owned businesses with fewer than 25 employees are eligible under the guidelines. Businesses owners must also be a resident of the city.

Elligible businesses include: 

  • Restaurants (full-service, limited-service and cafes) 
  • Bars 
  • Retail establishments 
  • Hair and beauty parlors 
  • Personal care services
  • Laundry services 
  • Cleaning services 
  • Pet care services 
  • Fitness centers and gyms 
  • Event spaces and services 

Service employees who reside within the city limits and have been terminated, furloughed or had their salary reduced at least 50% are eligible for individual grants.

Tomalin notes that since the money is given as a grant rather than a loan, it may be considered taxable income.

“We are a city of small, independently owned businesses," said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “They are our lifeblood. They give us our identity. We're getting moving on giving them and their workers a fighting chance.”

Applications for eligible businesses and employees will be available April 9, and will be accepted until funds are exhausted. There is no deadline to apply.

While there are currently no plans for a second wave of funding, the city has begun fundraising efforts.

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Delaney Brown is a radio news intern for the fall of 2019.