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.

Our financing page has information about assistance to small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Visit here for more information.

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:

COVID-19 Business Reopening Resources and Information Sources:

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

The Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program has opened for lender registration. Lenders can register through the program portal and are encouraged to begin making Main Street loans immediately.

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:

Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

By the Numbers
$41.2 Billion

2018 Gross Domestic Product

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City Center Lehigh Valley
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10.6% of Labor Force
Employed in Manufacturing

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$3.8 Billion

Exports in 2019

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Air Products
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Median Household Income

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PPL Electric Utilities
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Labor Force

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Lutron Electronics
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26.1% of Labor Force
Employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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Technology Patents

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Mack Trucks
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14% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA

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$7.3 Billion

Manufacturing Contribution to GDP

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69th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. by population

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10,754 degrees awarded by Lehigh Valley colleges (2017-18 academic year)

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85,000 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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Population between ages 18 and 34

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