COVID-19 Financing Options

Municipal, state and federal agencies are providing financing assistance to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many programs have closed or will soon be closing. This page provides important information and connections with special government financing programs, as well as regular financing options available through LVEDC and the Lehigh Valley Lending Network.

Northampton County COVID-19 Relief Small Business Grant Program

The Northampton County small business grant program is accepting applications.  Northampton County partnered with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce to distribute $15 million in American Rescue Plan funds to assist Northampton County businesses with 100 or fewer employees.

Grants of up to $15,000 are available to eligible businesses. Applicants must operate primarily in Northampton County and file a Pennsylvania tax return. Click here to apply.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) closed May 31, 2021. 

PPP borrowers can find information about loan forgiveness and other financial assistance programs on the Small Business Administration (SBA) website.

  • The SBA will forgive loans if employee retention criteria were met and the funds used for eligible expenses.
  • Eligible expenditures that PPP loans may be used to cover included operational expenses, property damage costs, supplier costs, and employee protection, including personal protective equipment. Note: Borrowers receive full loan forgiveness if they spend at least 60% of their PPP loan on payroll costs over a time period of their choosing, between 8 and 24 weeks.
  • Any amount of a PPP loan not forgiven becomes a loan at 1% interest repayable over five years.
  • PPP loan forgiveness expenses are tax-deductible.
  • Recipients of EIDL grants (see Other SBA Programs section below) did not have to deduct the grant amount from their PPP loan forgiveness amount.
Quick links:

Other SBA Programs

The SBA is accepting applications from eligible businesses for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The maximum loan amount has been increased from $500,000 to $2 million. The application process has been streamlined to help small businesses seeking relief. EIDL funds may be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, equipment purchases, and paying debt.

EIDL repayments are deferred until 2 years after loan origination. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits for 30-year terms with no pre-payment penalties or fees. Some businesses not eligible to receive PPP loans may qualify under the EIDL program. The SBA has extended the deadline to apply for EIDL loans related to the COVID-19 disaster declaration to Dec. 31, 2021.

The SBA also offers grants (EIDL Advance) to qualifying businesses. These “advances” do not have the typical requirements that come with a U.S. government grant. EIDL Advance provides funds of up to $10,000 for businesses in low-income communities that can demonstrate more than a 30% reduction in revenue for any 8-week period starting on or after March 2, 2020, and have 300 or fewer employees.

The SBA Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program provides small businesses that have existing relationships with SBA Express lenders access to as much as $25,000, which may be used as a term loan or bridge loan while applying for an EIDL loan. The SBA is updating its website to reflect program changes.

The SBA is providing Debt Relief to businesses with existing 7(a), 504 and Microloans. Borrowers do not need to apply for debt relief assistance. The SBA provides it automatically.

The SBA has temporarily eliminated certain 504 loan program fees as part of the new economic aid package enacted in December 2020.

The Lehigh University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can assist with the application process and provide additional information about SBA assistance programs.

Quick links:

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program provided relief to operators or promoters of live performance venues, theater operators, performing arts organizations, museums, movie theaters, and talent representatives. The application deadline was Aug. 20, 2021.

The SVOG portal remains open for applicants and grant recipients.

U.S. Rep Susan Wild announced that more than $20 million in SVOG funding has been awarded to venues and organizations in the 7th Congressional District.

Employee Retention Tax Credit Extended

The Employee Retention Tax Credit of the CARES Act, which was established to encourage employers to keep workers on their payroll, has been extended to cover 70% of qualified wages through Dec. 31, 2021. The per-employee wage cap has been increased to $7,000 in fully refundable payroll tax credits per employee per quarter, or $28,000 for the year.

Employers that received PPP loans are eligible to claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit, although payroll costs used to determine the amount of PPP loan forgiveness may not include costs for which the Employee Retention Tax Credit was claimed.

Deferral of Social Security Tax Payments

Deferral of the employers’ share of Social Security tax payments has been extended through the March 2021 period. Deferred payments may be repaid as late as 2022. The extension does not relieve employers of their obligation to pay Social Security taxes.

COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program

The application period for Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) has ended.

Lehigh County received $4.1 million. Northampton County received $3.4 million. The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund administered CHIRP.

Restaurant Relief Fund

The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce will provide support to restaurants to help offset COVID-related expenses during the restrictions on indoor dining. Lehigh Valley restaurants operating on a main street or surrounding traditional neighborhood are encouraged to apply. A total of $150,000 will be made available to 100 restaurant owners, for use with rent, payroll, or other operating expenses. Visit here for more information.

Lehigh County CARES Act Tourism Grant Program

Lehigh County is using federal CARES Act funding to provide grants for tourism-related businesses in Lehigh Valley. The grant program is administered by Lehigh County in partnership with Discover Lehigh Valley. For-profit and non-profit tourism businesses of any size that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may apply.

Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program

The Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program is designed to help credit flow to small businesses that were in sound financial condition before the pandemic but now face cash flow interruptions. The program offers 5-year loans of $250,000 to $3,000,000 with floating rates and principal payments deferred for two years and interest payments deferred for one year.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is registering interested lenders through the program portal. Businesses will apply for loans from participating lenders, who will determine eligibility and loan approval.

The Federal Reserve intends to purchase 95% of Main Street Lending Program loans to share the risk that otherwise would be absorbed solely by lenders, creating additional capacity for lenders to extend more loans.

Links to COVID-19 Programs Now Closed

Access to the lowest-cost loans available

The Lehigh Valley Lending Network (LVLN) is an award-winning, nationally recognized unique partnership of local financial institutions with a goal to create efficiencies in accessing credit and other resources within the private commercial lending community. The Lending Network also provides the client with resources to maximize the use of incentives available through the economic development community and to connect borrowers to a lending network that provides business financing & commercial loans at fixed-rates in Lehigh Valley for machinery, equipment and more.

The LVLN provides a single point of access to allow business financing proposals to be broadcast to many commercial lending institutions simultaneously. Additionally, the financing programs that Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) administers on behalf of the Lehigh Valley’s regional economic development organizations may be marshaled to assist in a given project.

The membership of the LVLN is comprised of private commercial lending institutions serving the Lehigh Valley.



Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

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