Governor Ron DeSantis
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Governor Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (Source: TFP File Photo)

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced $7 million from the Florida Disaster Fund will go to help small businesses, including in the hospitality industry, as recovery continues from Hurricane Ian.

“These investments will help local businesses, as well as the local economy, get back on track,” DeSantis said Friday during an appearance at the Oxbow Bar and Grill in Fort Myers.

The fund will provide $3 million to the non-profit arm of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.

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That money could be used to offset costs of reopening businesses and to assist employees affected by the storm, DeSantis said.

Up to $4 million will be used to create a small-business recovery impact program, with grants up to $50,000 to help small businesses outside of the hospitality industry.

The grants would help cover expenses while businesses wait for insurance payments or federal reimbursements, DeSantis said.

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As of March 1, just over one-third of the $60.4 million taken in by the fund had been distributed, according to figures provided by the Volunteer Florida Foundation.

The Category 4 Ian made landfall in September in Southwest Florida before crossing the state.

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