Hurricane recovery deadlines to know


Special to the Recorder

We are back in business. Over the last few weeks, the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce has been reaching out to businesses throughout the county and it is great to see that people are back at work and that the community continues to heal itself from the effects of Hurricane Matthew. We have taken our first few steps to full recovery and knowing the people of this community as I do, soon this this county will be better than ever.

As we recover, I want to make sure that everyone, especially those in the business community, are aware of the important deadlines coming up. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loan assistance for businesses that sustained physical damage and/or economic injury. The deadline to apply for a loan for physical damage is Dec. 16, 2016, and the deadline to apply for a loan for economic injury is July 17, 2017. If you have questions or would like help completing the required paperwork, you can come to the chamber’s St. Augustine office, where the SBA has opened a Business Recovery Center. For individual assistance, residents can visit the Disaster Recovery Center at the St. Johns County Wind Mitigation Building. If you have experienced damage to both your business and your home, you can come to the Business Recovery Center here at One News Place to find assistance for both your personal and professional recovery needs.

As these deadlines approach, you can help by sharing the information with the people you think it can benefit. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Strangers are helping strangers. You are all doing your part and for those of you who are looking to do a little more, I would suggest that there has never been a more important time to support your local businesses. Buy a gift card from your favorite local store, start your holiday shopping in historic downtown or uptown St. Augustine and find a new favorite locally-owned restaurant. There are many ways to buy local, and right now, it is one of the easiest, tastiest and best ways you can contribute to your community.

To find out more about the Business Recovery Center or if you have any questions that we can help you answer please contact the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce at (904) 829-5681.

Isabelle Rodriguez is the president and CEO of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.