With businesses reopening and local governments funneling assistance to people and organizations that have been financially hurt by COVID-19, there are new resources available. Here are some of them.

Hat tip to the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce for compiling a useful COVID-19 resources page.

Businesses expanding outdoors: The city of Lakeland offers guidance to businesses wanting to expand onto public right-of-way or private parking in this list of guidelines published Friday. It addresses location, tents, safety and more.

Re-opening guide: In conjunction with Friday’s announcement that Lakeland Regional Health has launched a reopening-safely resource center and a hotline at 863-904-1859, the hospital published a guidebook for organizations, “Returning to Work and Transitioning to the New Normal.”

Rent and utility assistance: Low-income Lakeland residents who lost income because of COVID-19 can apply for rent and utility assistance. Questions? Call 863.834.CARE. The funding will help an estimated 200 families, all of whom must live within city limits.

Help for families and small businesses: Polk County is reserving a large portion of a $126 million grant for helping families and small businesses that suffered economic setbacks from COVID-19. The application process begins Tuesday, May 19. Check here for details. Among eligibility requirements: Households must have less than $75,000 combined yearly income and $2,000 in liquid assets. Businesses must not have received other COVID assistance and plan to operate normally once restrictions are lifted.

Nonprofit organizations that directly assist people in need because of the COVID-19 crisis can apply for CARES Act funds through Polk Unites, a collaborations between the United Way of Central Florida and Polk County government. Deadline is Wednesday at 5. Funding is aimed at organizations that provide assistance with rent, mortgages, utilities, food, childcare, adult care and emergency needs.

SEND FEEDBACK, corrections or news tips: newstips@lkldnow.com


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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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