How to Help: Hurricane Recovery + Relief Efforts

When Hurricane Irma came to bear upon our beautiful state, Florida’s hospitality industry generously opened its doors and its hearts to their communities. Lodging properties welcomed evacuees, utility workers and first responders, restaurants fed thousands in shelters, businesses donated money and supplies and employees volunteered their time to help fellow neighbors in need. FRLA encourages those who wish to offer their generous help during this difficult time to consider supporting the charities named below.


Florida Disaster Fund

Governor Rick Scott has activated the Florida Disaster Fund to support individuals who are impacted by Hurricane Irma. The Florida Disaster Fund helps provide financial support to Florida’s communities in times of disaster. FRLA has proudly designated the Florida Disaster Fund as its auction beneficiary at the Hospitality Stars of the Industry Celebration that will occur on October 11th.

To make a contribution, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text SUNSHINE to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10.

To donate by check, please make check out to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, include “Florida Disaster Fund” in the memo line and mail to: Volunteer Florida Foundation Attn: Florida Disaster Fund, 3800 Esplanade Way – Suite 180, Tallahassee, FL 32311.

If you have additional questions about the Florida Disaster Fund, please contact info@volunteerflorida.org or call (850)-414-7400.


Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE)

In times of extreme emotional and financial strain brought on by family death, injury or diagnosed medical condition, loss of home, or other sudden or extreme circumstances, it can be difficult to make sure all children in the family feel safe and valued. CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees) grants support to children of food and beverage service employees navigating life-altering circumstances. Since 2004, CORE has raised over $2.5M and granted support to over 255 families across the industry and the country.

In response to the devastating impacts from recent hurricanes, CORE is collecting donations to provide assistance to affected food and beverage service employees. Donations earmarked for Hurricane Irma in Florida will be used to provide gift cards to industry families to purchase food, water, clothes, and other needed items.

Donate online now, call 404-655-4690, or send a check made payable to “CORE” to 1196 Buckhead Crossing, Woodstock, GA 30189. If you wish for this donation to be used for Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Florida, please indicate in your submission. If you would like to make an in-kind donation, please contact Executive Director Lauren LaViola at Lauren@COREgives.org. To apply or refer a family for support, fill out a grant application.


Hurricane Resources: Before, During + After

As a member of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) family, we strongly encourage you and your business to stay informed and get a plan during the state’s Hurricane season (June 1 – November 30).  The FRLA and VISIT FLORIDA actively participate and assist the State Emergency Response Team during emergency events as a member of ESF 18. The purpose of Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 is to coordinate local, state and federal agency actions that will provide immediate and short-term assistance for the needs of business, industry and economic stabilization. For weather alert updates, visitors and residents may stay informed via the weather advisory located on the VISIT FLORIDA homepage.

 


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Get A Plan

The FLVBEOC Business Disaster Toolkit provides businesses with valuable information regarding preparedness, response, and recovery issues. Click here to learn how to prepare your business BEFORE disaster strikes, help keep your workplace and employees safe DURING and what businesses should do AFTER to recover and rebuild.

A disaster of any size could have an impact on your business. Taking the steps to build a business disaster plan and encourage your employees to create a family emergency plan can reduce the impact on your business. It is important to consider how a disaster could affect your employees, customers, and workplace. Go to www.FLGetAPlan.com to build your customized business disaster plan and encourage your employees to build a customized family emergency plan.

 

 


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Emergency Lodging Assistance (ELA)

In response to Hurricane Irma, FEMA has activated the Emergency Lodging Assistance program. All lodging operators are encouraged to sign-up here. The ELA provides lodging reimbursement for pre-qualified individuals from designated disaster areas. The Federal Emergency Management Agency created the ELA program to provide temporary shelter as a result of a Federal disaster declaration. As administrator for this FEMA-funded preparedness initiative, CLC provides rules-based payments for all qualified applicants at participating hotels. Lodging properties can review frequently asked questions here, call 1-866-545-9865 or email femahousing@clclodging.com for assistance. Individuals or families searching for lodging may contact FEMA at 1-800-621-3362.

 

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Provide Emergency Accommodations

Lodging operators are strongly encouraged to waive cancellation fees and to not require minimum stays for displaced evacuees, first responders and utility workers. Those seeking available lodging may reserve by brand here and/or find available rooms here.

FRLA strongly urges its members, and the industry at large, to consider waiving normal pet restrictions and fees for displaced evacuees seeking shelter. Search for pet-friendly lodging on BringFido.com or PetFriendlyTravel.com. Intrastate and interstate animal movement information is available here.

 


white truck on a highway passing green fieldsTruck Weight Restrictions Lifted

Governor Scott has instructed the Florida Department of Transportation to rescind all weight and driver restrictions for highways so water, food, fuel and emergency supplies can be quickly brought to Florida during the preparation and aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Learn more.

 

 

 

 


Florida State Emergency Response Team LogoDisaster Area Re-Entry Requirements

Following a major storm, one of the primary goals will be the rapid restoration of local businesses that provide vital goods and services. Local elected officials and Law Enforcement Officers will work together to determine when an area is safe enough for individuals to return. Individuals and businesses seeking to provide essential commodities and services to impacted areas will be allowed re-entry by possessing and presenting specific documentation to local officials:

1. A valid government-issued ID, such as a Driver’s License or passport;
2. Proof of Employment, such as Employer credentials or a letter on employer letterhead; and
3. A Demonstrated Need to enter the area, such as a work order, inventory list, or employer authorization. Local officials know their communities and are well suited to facilitate a safe and timely re-entry process.

If you have any questions, please contact the State Emergency Response Team’s Emergency Support Function 18 via the Private Sector Hotline at (850) 410-1403 or by email at esf18@em.myflorida.com.


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Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center (FLVBEOC)

Additionally, FLVBEOC has activated the Resource System for businesses to share resources in the aftermath of a Hurricane. Volunteer Florida and other statewide volunteer organizations are in need of securing several donation items to assist survivors after the storm.  The FLVBEOC Resource System is now also being used to provide a centralized location for resource requests from voluntary agencies, and to give businesses in the area who want to help an avenue to assist their neighbors. Resources are both requested and offered through the system. First, please register the business with the FLVBEOC to utilize the resource management system. If your business was impacted by a recent Hurricane, we encourage you to fill out the Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center (FLVBEOC) Damage Assessment Tool. The information provided in this survey will be shared among various state and local agencies to expedite implementation of appropriate disaster relief programs for businesses.


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Open/Closed Business Status Reporting

The ESF18 State Emergency Response Team is particularly interested in your store’s open/closed status, if a store is partially open or open with reduced resources, what challenges are they facing, if a store is closed, what obstacles do they have to reopening and what is the anticipated timeline of reopening. To provide this information, if you are registered with the Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center, and your locations are currently populated, login here and utilize the “Status Update” tool to identify your open/closed status. Businesses may also report this information via email to esf18@em.myflorida.com and via the Private Sector Hotline is 850-410-1403.

 

 

 


renovations-hammer-nail-construction-remodelFlorida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has launched the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma to provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm. To complete an application visit www.floridadisasterloan.org or download the application here. For more information contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 850-898-3489 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org.

Eligible Counties: All 67 counties in Florida.

Application Period: Applications will be accepted under this program through Oct. 31, 2017, contingent on the availability of funds, for small businesses with two (2) -100 employees established prior to Sept. 4, 2017, located in any of Florida’s 67 counties that have been physically and/or economically impacted by Hurricane Irma.

 


sbaU.S. Small Business Administration – Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans

SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters. SBA disaster loans can be used to repair or replace the following items damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster: real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets. The SBA offers several ways to apply for a disaster loan: online application via SBA’s secure website; visit a recovery center for one-one-one assistance; or download an application here. For information or to request application forms, call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
Eligible Florida Counties as of September 12, 2017:  The disaster declaration covers the counties of Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Duval, Flagler, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota and Saint Johns in Florida which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Marion, Martin, Nassau, Okeechobee, Pasco, Polk, and Volusia in Florida.

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FEMA’s Individual Assistance

Individual Assistance from FEMA contains any or all of 5 different programs: Individuals & Households Program (IHP), Crisis Counseling, Disaster Unemployment Insurance, Disaster Case Management and Disaster Legal Services. The program that deals with money to survivors is IHP and provides funding for survivors based on their needs (uninsured losses), and factoring in other types of available assistance.

Visit DisasterAssistance.gov to apply for assistance online.  If you experience difficulty applying online, you may also call (800) 621-3362 / TTY (800) 462-7585 to apply during standard hours of operation (7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time), 7 days a week.  You can also check your application status at DisasterAssistance.gov. Survivors have 60-days from the date of a declaration for Individual Assistance to apply for assistance.

Designated Counties (Individual Assistance, including Disaster Unemployment Assistance): Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union and Volusia.


helping-handDisaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)

Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the DUA assists individuals who become unemployed as a direct result of a federally declared disaster and who do not qualify for regular reemployment assistance benefits. DEO has launched the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Program to provide assistance to businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Irma. To file for DUA or for more information go to www.FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-385-3920.

Deadline: Individuals affected in these designated-disaster areas must file DUA applications by October 16, 2017

 


 

Disaster Recovery Centers

A Disaster Recovery Center is a readily accessible facility or mobile office where survivors may go for information about our programs or other disaster assistance programs, and to ask questions related to your case. Representatives from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), volunteer groups and other agencies are at the centers to answer questions about disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses. They can also help survivors apply for federal disaster assistance.

Use the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) Locator allows individuals to search for DRCs nearest to their location.

 


 

Dislocated Worker Grants

Dislocated Worker Grants are now available to provide temporary employment to Floridians affected by Hurricane Irma and provide disaster relief employment in the form of temporary jobs that support storm response and recovery efforts. Disaster relief employment pertains to projects that provide food, clothing, shelter and other humanitarian assistance for disaster victims and projects that involve demolition, cleaning, repair, renovation and reconstruction of damaged structures and facilities. Individuals who qualify for disaster relief employment are people who are temporarily or permanently laid off as a consequence of the disaster, dislocated workers, and individuals who are long-term unemployed. Find info at your local CareerSource Center.

 

 


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Protect Your Business From Price Gouging

As the entire state of Florida is under a declared state of emergency, Florida’s price gouging law applies statewide. State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, ice, gas, hotels, lumber and water during this declared state of emergency.  Specifically, F.S. 501.160 states that during a state of emergency, it is unlawful to sell, lease, offer to sell, or offer for lease essential commodities, dwelling units, or self-storage facilities for an amount that grossly exceeds the average price for that commodity during the 30 days before the declaration of the state of emergency, unless the seller can justifying the price by showing increases in its prices or market trends. For more information on price gouging, please click here. Report an instance of price gouging or contractor fraud during a declared state of emergency to the Attorney General’s Office online at www.myfloridalegal.com or by calling toll-free at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM. Additionally, you may report unlicensed contractors to the Department of Business & Professional Regulation online at www.myfloridalicense.com or by calling 1-866-532-1440.

Need Insurance Help?

FRLA’s Insurance Council is comprised of trusted agency advisors who understand our members’ needs. Check out the list here.
The Florida Chief Financial Officer’s Division of Consumer Services offers free assistance to insurance consumers in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma by offering the insurance Consumer Helpline 1-877-693-5236. You can speak directly with individuals who can help you review your policies to understand your coverage, help you file claims for damage and offer assistance in the event that you are having trouble communicating with your insurance company. Verify an insurance agent’s or adjuster’s license here.

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USDA Food Safety Tips for Areas Affected by Hurricanes

Click here for a list of recommendations to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during severe weather events. In the wake of a Hurricane, there may likely be power outages and flooding.  Both pose a risk to the integrity of food and water.  Food safety requirements should be adhered to post-disaster if you are serving food to the public and to your own family. Be certain refrigerated food has been stored at correct temperatures of 41°F or below. Frozen food should be maintained at 0°F or below. Thawing should be conducted using only correct methods. Food packaging should be intact with no trace of water intrusion or exposure. In addition, if food has been exposed to storm-related water or debris of any type, it should be discarded should not be served. If food is in question remember, when in doubt, throw it out. For information about food safety requirements visit the USDA or Florida’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants, to learn guidelines for emergency recovery.

 

 

 


For Visitors & Residents

Stay informed: Visit www.floridadisaster.org to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes. For live updates on Hurricane Irma, follow the State Emergency Response Team @FLSERT on Twitter and Facebook. VISIT FLORIDA is also providing weather updates and official source links for visitors to keep up with the latest changes here.

Obtaining financial assistance for lodging: Hurricane Irma evacuees in need of financial assistance for lodging can contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA ) online or by phone at 800-621-3362.*

Finding a hotel that accepts FEMA assistance: If you already have FEMA lodging assistance and you are looking for available lodging under FEMA’s Transitional Shelter Assistance Program, a list of participating hotels is available on the www.disasterassistance.gov website. Call the hotel to determine current availability, and be sure to inform the hotel when you call that you are participating in FEMA’s emergency lodging program.

Finding a hotel generally: Visitors and residents can make general lodging relocation plans here. Reserve by brand here. First responders traveling to the impacted areas can also use this information to find available lodging. Search for pet-friendly lodging BringFido.com or PetFriendlyTravel.com.

Shelter Information: If lodging accommodations are simply not an available option for you, you can find a list of open evacuation shelters updated in real time here. Some local shelters require advanced notice for pets. Review the list of American Kennel Club’s pet-friendly shelters in the area.

Other helpful resources:


Other Helpful Resources

Florida Division of Emergency Management
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Volunteer Florida


If you have additional questions or need additional assistance, contact us at help@FRLA.org