This week, Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 18-221, declaring a state of emergency in Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties due to the impact of red tide. Although red tide is a naturally-occurring event, the impact can still be significant for businesses along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association wants to ensure our members have access to all the information and resources necessary to help you navigate this emergency effectively.
First, we encourage all members who are affected by the red tide to complete the Florida Department of Emergency Management’s Damage Assessment survey. You can find the survey here. Be sure to select “red tide” as the event. Information gathered will help the government develop the best strategy to help businesses recover during and after this event. Your input is invaluable.
Second, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is providing bridge loans and increasing their presence in South Florida. These interest-free loans, from $1,000 to $50,000, are available to small business owners with 2-100 employees who have suffered physical or economic damage as a result of the red tide.
The Governor’s emergency declaration includes funding for tourism promotion, algae clean-up, and additional scientists in the impacted areas. A full outline of how state and local government and research agencies are addressing red tide can be found here.
If you would like assistance with how to respond to guests with questions about this issue, please contact our Press Secretary, Amanda Handley, APR. She will happily help you craft talking points to share with staff and guests.
FRLA is working to ensure that our members can quickly and easily get information and resources to help you during this emergency. Check your email and follow us on social media for the most up-to-date information.