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Hillsborough to set $3 million in grants for businesses damaged in protests

County commissioners will consider the new program Wednesday.
Hillsborough County is setting aside $3 million for small businesses damaged after protests, in response to death of George Floyd on Saturday, turned into looting and vandalism. Floyd died after being custody while pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis Police officer's knee for several minutes.
Hillsborough County is setting aside $3 million for small businesses damaged after protests, in response to death of George Floyd on Saturday, turned into looting and vandalism. Floyd died after being custody while pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis Police officer's knee for several minutes. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]
Published Jun. 2, 2020|Updated Jun. 2, 2020

TAMPA — Hillsborough County is setting aside $3 million to aid small businesses damaged when public protests turned into looting and vandalism Saturday night.

The program will allot up to $50,000 to approximately 60 businesses to make repairs or replace stolen inventory. To qualify, the businesses must be privately held or a sole proprietorship, independently owned and employ less than 25 full-time workers.

"These small businesses have already experienced unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the community is reeling from COVID-19 public health crisis, subsequent economic downturn and record-high unemployment,'' states a memo to commissioners from economic development director Lindsey Kimball.

The Hillsborough County Commission will be asked to approve the program Wednesday.

The burned-out Mobil gas station at 30th and Busch Boulevard is boarded up Sunday morning.
The burned-out Mobil gas station at 30th and Busch Boulevard is boarded up Sunday morning. [ JOEY KNIGHT | Tampa Bay Times ]

The protests Saturday came from people demanding justice in the May 25th death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He died of asphyxiation after a Minneapolis Police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. The officer was fired and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. In Tampa, the protests turned unruly after nightfall by early Sunday, the Champs Sports store near University Square Mall became engulfed in flames and it and other businesses were looted.

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