Businesses in Sarasota and Manatee counties are being urged to fill out a damage survey put out by the state to help local agencies determine the needs of the business community after Hurricane Idalia passed through the state Wednesday.
The Manatee Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County both sent press releases out on Wednesday regarding the FloridaCommerce’s Business Damage Assessment Survey.
“While the majority of our greater Manatee County region businesses have been spared physical damage from Hurricane Idalia, there are some that are and will be dealing with wind and water damage, and a larger number will have other economic losses,” the Manatee chamber release reads.
The survey asks participants to share physical and economic damages, as well as other hindrances like debris removal, insurance settlements, product supply, water damage and more.
It then lists the types of assistance currently available for businesses, including:
- Emergency Bridge Loan, a short-term, interest-free loan up to $50,000
- SBA Physical Disaster Loans, loans available for uninsured losses up to $2 million for repairs
- SBA Economic Injury Loans, up to $2 million in loans are available for businesses that endured economic injury
- Small Business Development Center Business Counseling, general business counseling to help access traditional SBA loans
The survey can be accessed on FloridaDisaster.biz.
Jacki Dezelski, president and CEO of the chamber, writes in a follow-up email to the Business Observer that she’s not sure of how many businesses have been affected.
“We know that there will be island businesses with flooding damage as well as some other waterfront (e.g. Manatee River) businesses affected,” she says.
Dezelski points to Anna Maria Oyster Bar at the Pier on Bradenton Beach and Café L’Europe on St. Armands Circle as examples, as both were unable to reopen Wednesday due to road closures from flooding.
Erin Silk, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, says the survey may stay open for several months, like it did after Hurricane Ian hit last year.
"It is too early to tell what the total business damage will be in Sarasota County from Hurricane Idalia," she says. "Many businesses on our barrier islands are going to have a considerable recovery from flooding, that as of tonight is yet to be measured."
Silk says that many businesses in the county closed Tuesday and Wednesday, noting that some lost workforce temporarily.
"I would encourage any business who had to close due to the hurricane, lost sales because of workforce shortage or supply chain disruptions, or experienced serious physical damage to complete the survey," she says. "Whether economic or physical damage, all is important to capture it in the survey."
Following Hurricane Ian last year, the EDC spoke with around 1,000 businesses and assisted many without power in completing the survey. Silk encourages businesses to reach out to the EDC or a local chamber if assistance is needed.