LVEDC continues to monitor effects of COVID-19 on Lehigh Valley’s economy. We update this page often with information about resources available to businesses.
Lehigh Valley in Green Phase of Reopening
Governor Tom Wolf is implementing a plan for reopening Pennsylvania’s economy. The governor identified three reopening phases: red, yellow, and green. Phases are based on conditions by counties or regions.
Lehigh and Northampton counties moved to the green phase on June 26. In the green phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction are eased, but limits on large gatherings remain in effect. Work at home is encouraged. Businesses operating at 50% capacity in the yellow phase may increase to 75% capacity. Masks are required when entering a business.
The governor announced statewide targeted mitigation efforts effective July 16 in response to a recent increase in COVID-19 cases. These efforts include:
- Indoor events and gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited
- Outdoor events and gatherings of more than 250 people are prohibited
- Unless not possible, businesses are required to operate remotely; where telework is not possible, businesses must comply fully with state safety and masking orders
COVID-19 Resources and Information Sources:
- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Newsroom
- NEW! Pennsylvania DCED COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance
- NEW! Pennsylvania DCED COVID-19 Hazard Pay Grant Program
- Federal Reserve to Provide up to $2.3 Trillion in Loans to Support the Economy
- Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program
- Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program Lender Registration
- IRS Deferral of Employment Tax Deposits and Payments
- US Treasury Department Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- US Small Business Administration (SBA) PPP Information: Program Reopened July 6
- US SBA: Frequently Asked Questions about PPP Loan Application Process
- US SBA: Find Lenders Eligible to Issue PPP Loans
- US SBA PPP Loan Forgiveness Application (SBA Form 3508)
- US SBA PPP EZ Loan Forgiveness Application (SBA Form 3508EZ)
- NEW! US SBA Procedural Notice to Lenders on Submitting Decisions for PPP Loan Forgiveness
- PPP Flexibility Act Summary (Modifies provisions related to forgiveness of PPP loans)
- US SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans
- SBA Express Bridge Loans
- US SBA Debt Relief
- US SBA Coronavirus Recovery Information in Languages Other than English
- US SBA COVID-19 Guidance
- US SBA Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
- US SBA Express Bridge Loan Program Guide
- Lehigh University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Assistance with Applying for Disaster Financing and Assistance
- Lehigh University College of Business Vistex Institute for Executive Learning and Research Kitchen Table Talk Videos
- National Endowment for the Humanities CARES Cultural Organization Grants
- NEW! Lehigh County COVID-19 Relief Block Grant Program
- NEW! Northampton County COVID-19 Relief Block Grant Program
- Northampton County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Fund Flyer
- Northampton County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Fund Loan Application
- PA Dept of Community and Economic Development Assistance
- Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Coronavirus Unemployment Offerings for Employees Impacted
- Pennsylvania Rapid Response Information Guide
- PA.gov: Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania
- COVID-19 and Employer Unemployment Compensation FAQ
- Pennsylvania Department of Health
- Industry-Specific Guidance from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
COVID-19 Business Reopening Resources and Information Sources:
- Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency
- Guidance for Businesses in the Real Estate Industry Permitted to Operate
- Guidance for Child Care and Summer Recreation Providers Permitted to Operate
- Lehigh County Authority: Water System Flushing for Reopening Buildings
Pennsylvania DCED COVID-19 Statewide Small Business Assistance
This program, administered by Community Development Financial Institutions, offers grants of $5,000 to $50,000 to small businesses that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The administrator for Lehigh Valley small businesses is the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund.
To be eligible, businesses must have annual revenue of $1 million or less, have 25 or fewer employees, and have been in business as of Feb. 15, 2020. At least 50% of the grants will go to historically disadvantaged businesses: those at least 51% owned and operated by people who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American, or Pacific Islander. Additional consideration will be given to women-owned businesses, rural communities, and communities targeted for state investment by programs such as Main Street.
Pennsylvania DCED COVID-19 Hazard Pay Grant
This program was established to provide employers with hazard pay funding that can help them retrain employees in life-sustaining occupations. Eligible industries include Health Care and Social Assistance, Food Manufacturing, Food Retail Facilities, Public Transportation, Ground Passenger Transportation, Security Services for businesses that remained in operation during the business restrictions, and Janitorial Services to businesses and dwellings.
Applications will be accepted from July 16 to July 31.
US Small Business Administration Programs
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reopened July 6. The SBA extended the deadline to apply for PPP loans until Aug. 8. Businesses that have received PPP loans may request repayment forgiveness if they meet employee retention criteria and used PPP funds for eligible expenses.
The SBA is accepting applications from eligible businesses for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). These loans provide financial assistance for small businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Some businesses not eligible to receive PPP loans may qualify under the EIDL program.
The SBA’s EIDL Advance program provides up to $10,000 of emergency grant assistance to businesses experiencing temporary difficulties. EIDL Advance grants do not have to be repaid.
SBA Express Bridge Loans provide small businesses with existing relationships with SBA Express lenders access to up to $25,000 to bridge the gap while applying for an EIDL loan. The bridge loan will be repaid in full or in part with proceeds from the EIDL loan.
The SBA also provides Debt Relief to small businesses with existing 7(a), 504, and Microloans. The SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and associated fees. Borrowers do not need to apply for payment relief. It will occur automatically.
Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program
Loans range in size from $250,000 to $3,000,000. They are 5-year loans with floating rates. Principal payments are deferred for two years. Interest payments are deferred for one year. Lenders will work directly with businesses to determine eligibility and loan approval. Information for borrowers is available here.
Northampton County COVID-19 Relief Small Business Grant Program
Northampton County has designated $4 million of COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant funding for a Small Business Grant Program. The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce is administering the program on behalf of the county. Northampton County businesses with fewer than 100 employees may apply for grants of up to $15,000 for COVID-19-related expenses.
Eligible uses of grant funds include payroll costs, costs related to continuation of group health care benefits, insurance premiums, mortgage and rent payments, utility costs, working capital for the costs of reopening businesses that were closed due to the pandemic, costs related to compliance with reopening guidelines (specialized equipment, barriers, protective equipment, employee training, etc.), and any COVID-19 expense not already covered by other federal, state, or regional grant or loan programs.
LVEDC Blog Posts Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic:
- Economic Heroes: Lehigh Valley Company Develops Thermographic Monitoring System
- Lehigh Valley Unemployment Rate Held Steady in June Amid Pandemic
- Lehigh Valley Entrepreneurs Create Curbside Communications App for Businesses
- Two Programs Announced to Support Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
- Analysts: Coronavirus Effect on Lehigh Valley Logistics Market Limited Thus Far
- Don Cunningham Column: What Torch Is Being Passed to this Generation?
- PPP Loan Application Window Extended Until Aug. 8
- Economic Heroes: Allentown Plastic Company’s New Product Making Elevators Safer
- Lehigh Valley’s Unemployment Rate Drops in May Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
- LVEDC Q&A: ArtsQuest’s Kassie Hilgert Discusses Musikfest, Impact of Coronavirus on the Arts
- Ben Franklin Technology Partners Gives COVID-19 Funding to Lehigh Valley Startups
- PPP Adds Flexibility, Federal Reserve Creates COVID-19 Relief Program
- Lehigh University Team Working on Project to Disrupt Spread of Coronavirus
- Businesses Discuss How LVEDC Helped Them Secure COVID-19 Financing Assistance
- LVEDC Q&A: Carol Kuplen of St. Luke’s and Ed Dougherty of LVHN
- LVEDC Continues Municipal and Community Outreach Efforts
- Unemployment Rate in April Shows Rising Impact of COVID-19
- Don Cunningham Column: Sometimes It’s OK to Stop and Watch the Chipmunks
- Susan Larkin Discusses Staffing Challenges During COVID-19
- Economic Heroes: Sharp Expanding in Lehigh Valley as it Fights Against Coronavirus
- Expertise of LVEDC Board Helps to Understand Lehigh Valley Economy
- Lehigh Valley Business Owners Discuss Innovating Amid COVID-19
- LVEDC Releases First Commercial Real Estate Report Since Coronavirus Outbreak
- Lehigh Valley Women Entrepreneurs Discuss Navigating the New Normal
- Economic Heroes: LifeAire Systems Designs Decontamination Unit for N95 Masks
- Essential Work of Owens & Minor in Lehigh Valley Earns President’s Praise
- Economic Heroes: Americold Serves Key Role in Global Food Distribution Network
- Lehigh Valley Construction Companies Resume Activity
- Don Cunningham Discusses Economic Impact of Coronavirus on Lehigh Valley
- LVStartup Provides Coronavirus Information to Lehigh Valley Entrepreneurs
- Economic Heroes: OraSure Technologies on Front Lines in Fight Against Coronavirus
- Don Cunningham Column: A New Chapter for Lehigh Valley Economy
- New Unemployment Data Show Start of COVID-19 Impact in Lehigh Valley
- Online Job Ads Provide Peek Into Lehigh Valley’s Economy During Pandemic
- Analysts Say Lehigh Valley Industrial Market Well-Positioned to Weather Pandemic
- Pennsylvania Issues Guidance for Construction Projects to Resume Starting May 1
- Lehigh Valley Economic Development Activity Continues During Pandemic
- Regional Experts Discuss Coronavirus Pandemic at Virtual Town Hall
- COVID-19 Funding Starting to Flow to Lehigh Valley Companies
- Lehigh Valley Has High Percentage of Essential Jobs that Cannot Be Done at Home
- LVEDC Continues to Connect Lehigh Valley Companies with Emergency Financing
- Lehigh Valley Businesses Step up to Fight COVID-19; Supplies for Care Providers Still Being Sought
- LVEDC Helping Connect Lehigh Valley Small Businesses with COVID-19 Financing
- Don Cunningham Column: Finding a New Way and Maintaining Connectedness
- Lehigh Valley Companies Step Up To Fight COVID-19 Outbreak
- Supplies Sought for Lehigh Valley Health Care Providers
- Financing Options Available for Lehigh Valley Businesses Affected by COVID-19
- LVEDC Reports Initial Findings From Survey of COVID-19 Economic Impacts
- COVID-19 UPDATE: Business Resources Available After Gov. Wolf’s Closure Order
- LVEDC Monitoring, Gathering Economic Data in Response to Coronavirus
- Economic Impact of Coronavirus Discussed at Lehigh Valley Business Symposium