Restaurants are always among the first to respond to support hurricane-affected  communities -- even when they're affected themselves. With hurricane season in full swing, and with Hurricane Dorian expected to affect several Southeastern states,  our state restaurant association partners are working with their members as they prepare for hurricanes and gear up to help communities recover.

Employer/employee resources

Small Business Administration
SBA has several forms of financial assistance for disaster-affected small businesses. Resources range from working-capital loans to disaster-assistance loans. Interest rates can be as low as 3.3 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations. The SBA sets the amounts and terms, based on applicants' financial condition. Businesses can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other assets.

U.S. Department of Labor
The DOL provides income and job assistance after a disaster. For more information, call 866-4-USA-DOL (866-487-2365).

Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits may qualify for disaster unemployment assistance.

Federal Emergency Management Agency
FEMA is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, closely monitors the progress of any hurricane and offers tips and tools to help with preparedness.
>> FEMA's National Business Emergency Operations Center
>> FEMA's Office of External Affairs, Jessi Nalepa, director

Other resources

FloridaDisaster.Biz

  • Business Disaster Toolkit: Provides businesses with information on preparedness, response and recovery. Get the toolkit to prepare and register your business BEFORE disaster strikes, help keep your workplace and employees safe DURING and what you should do AFTER to recover and rebuild. FLGetAPlan.com helps you build your customized business disaster plan and encourage your employees to build a customized family emergency plan.
  • FloridaDisaster.Biz Resource System: This partnership between the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the Florida Division of Emergency Management provides 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 requested and offered through the system. Register your business on FloridaDisaster.biz to use the resource management system. If your business is impacted by a recent hurricane, fill out the Business Damage Assessment Form. The information provided will be shared with various state and local agencies to expedite implementation of appropriate disaster relief programs for businesses.
  • Restaurant Operator Activities:There are examples across the industry of restaurant operators helping communities during their time of need. “Brunch for a Cause” was started several years ago by Carl Sobocinski with a mission to help those in need. The next “Brunch for a Cause” will be happening on Saturday, September 14 and 100% of proceeds will be donated to The American Red Cross to support Hurricane Dorian relief efforts. Visit Bruch for a Cause for more information.

Food safety tips for hurricane-affected areas

  • USDA's 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. Get food safety requirements you should adhere to post-disaster if you are serving food to the public and to your own family.
  • Florida’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants offers guidelines for emergency recovery.

Emergency Lodging Assistance
In response to hurricanes, FEMA activates 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. FEMA created the ELA program to provide temporary shelter as a result of a federal disaster declaration.