We Want Our Lives Back!
I think it is fair to say that many of us are “over” COVID-19. We want our lives back. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over; and if you notice, every time we let our collective guards down, a couple of weeks later, infections spike. Then, in a couple weeks after that, hospitalizations increase; and, then, in a couple weeks after that, the deaths go up. It’s how this disease works. Therefore, we can’t let our guards down. We have to stay diligent in social distancing, avoiding the three C’s (closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings) and wearing a mask when we have to; and we have to remain diligent until this pandemic ends. When will that be? Your guess is as good as mine, but I am planning on 2021 after enough of us receive a safe effective vaccine.
As you probably know, mask-wearing and other aspects of COVID-19 have become political wedge issues in this hyper partisan moment in our nation’s history; but, I hope almost all of us can agree that this disease is taking people’s lives and livelihoods and imposing historic trials on our way of life. In addition to the tragic loss of life, many local businesses have closed or are only hanging on by a thread. Our friends, neighbors and family members are out of work or had their hours reduced. Many of life’s celebrations and events are forbidden. It is a difficult time for so many, and I don’t know anyone who has made it through 2020 unscathed.
In any crisis and, certainly, in this crisis of historic proportions, it is important for us to band together and help others. With this thought in mind, if you or someone you know is struggling in Port St. Lucie or any part of St. Lucie County (Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, St. Lucie Village or unincorporated St. Lucie County) due to COVID-19, please know that several programs have been made available to help residents and businesses thanks to the CARES Act and St. Lucie County. Please visit www.recoverstlucie.org to learn more and to make an application; and please remember that all residents and businesses of St. Lucie County are potentially eligible (inclusive of the cities).
I encourage impacted residents to go to www.recoverstlucie.org and explore the “St. Lucie CARES” Program, which offers up to $4,000, depending upon each application’s particular circumstances, for rental payments, mortgage payments, HOA payments, homeowners/flood insurance payments, utility payments, car payments and/or car insurance payments. I encourage impacted business owners to learn more about the “Small Business Assistance Grant” Program, which is intended to provide our small local businesses (up to 10 employees), that were not helped by the federal Paycheck Protection Program, with some economic relief and a rapid infusion of capital. Those businesses with 3 employees or less may be eligible for grants up to $5,000; and businesses with 4 to 10 employees may be eligible for grants up to $7,500. Again, you can learn more and start an application for either of these programs with a click of a button at www.recoverstlucie.org.
In addition to the County’s “Recover St. Lucie” Portal, please know that we continue to try to connect you with a greater pool of resources at www.cityofpsl.com/covid. Further, coming this fall, the City will host the Business Accelerator Program at Indian River State College. The ten-week course will be led by the Florida SBDC and cover several topics, including marketing, social media, employment, management and small business finance. Additionally, eligible participants of the Business Accelerator Program will be able to apply for a City business assistance grant up to $5,000 for the reimbursement of certain business expenses, such as the purchase of inventory, supplies, marketing and advertising, employee training and/or professional services. Interested business owners can register now for the Fall Business Accelerator Program at www.irscbiz.com. For more information on this or any of the City’s small business assistance programs, please visit https://www.cityofpsl.com/business/economic-development/business-resource-guide or contact the City’s Business Navigator, Elijah Wooten, at 772-873-6374.
Thank you for your continuing efforts to overcome difficult circumstances. If the City Council or I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 772-871-5159.