COVID-19 Financing Options

Municipal, state and federal agencies are providing financing assistance to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This page provides important information and connections with special government financing programs during the current emergency, as well as the regular financing options available through LVEDC and the Lehigh Valley Lending Network.

Paycheck Protection Program — Application Deadline Extended

The application deadline for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans has been extended for eligible businesses and organizations until May 31, 2021. The federal government has given the Small Business Administration (SBA) 30 additional days to process PPP loan applications that are still pending on May 31. PPP loans are designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll.

The SBA has published Round 2 guidelines along with guidelines for businesses that are applying for a second PPP loan. To apply for a PPP loan, contact your SBA banker. Small businesses that need access to SBA-approved CDFIs and small lenders can use SBA’s Lender Match tool.

PPP loan eligibility has been expanded; some funding is designated specifically for underserved businesses, such as woman-owned and minority-owned businesses.

PPP Highlights

  • Eligibility has been expanded to 501(c)(6) business organizations, housing corporations, destination marketing organizations, and other types of non-profit organizations. Publicly held companies are excluded. Refer to PPP guidelines for additional exclusions.
  • Second-time borrowers must have used, or will use, the full amount of their first PPP loan for authorized purposes on or before the expected date of the second loan’s disbursement.
  • PPP borrowers that did not receive loan forgiveness by Dec. 27, 2020, may (1) reapply for a first-draw PPP loan if they previously returned some or all of the first-draw loan funds, or (2) request to modify their first-draw loan under certain circumstances if they did not accept the full amount for which they were eligible.
  • Generally, first-time loan recipients must have fewer than 500 employees per location and second-time loan recipients must have fewer than 300 employees per location. Refer to PPP guidelines for specific requirements because the SBA has alternative size standards that may apply.
  • First-time applicants are subject to the original PPP eligibility rules, which means they do not have to show revenue losses as a result of the pandemic; second-time applicants must demonstrate a reduction in gross receipts of at least 25% between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
  • First-time loan recipients are eligible for a maximum loan of $10 million; second-time loan recipients are eligible for a maximum loan of $2 million.
  • Loan amounts will be based on average monthly payroll costs: Borrowers may qualify for a PPP loan of up to 2.5 times their average payroll and payroll costs for the period chosen, but businesses in the Accommodation and Food Services sectors (NAICS Code 72) may qualify for a PPP loan of up to 3.5 times their average payroll and payroll costs.
  • Eligible expenditures that PPP loans may be used to cover have been expanded to include 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.
  • Whether businesses are taking out a second PPP loan or modifying an existing loan, terms will be the same as their original PPP loan; for all new loans, any amount not forgiven becomes a loan at 1% interest repayable over five years.
  • The SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria have been met and the funds are used for eligible expenses. As of Jan. 12, the SBA had forgiven more than 1.1 million PPP loans totaling more than $100 billion.
  • PPP forgiveness expenses are tax-deductible.
  • If you received an EIDL grant (see Other SBA Programs section below), you don’t have to deduct the grant amount from your PPP loan forgiveness amount.
  • No collateral or personal guarantee required.

Quick links:

Other SBA Programs

The SBA is accepting applications from eligible businesses for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). For loans approved starting April 6, 2021, the maximum amount is $500,000 for businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. 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, through the EIDL program, also offers grants (EIDL Advance) to qualifying businesses. Additional funding has been allocated to the SBA to resume the EIDL Advance program, which offers businesses $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of $10,000. Under the new program guidelines, businesses will not have to deduct the amount of the EIDL Advance grant from their PPP loan forgiveness amount. The SBA soon will release grant program guidelines and information. We will update the website when that information becomes available.

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 Operator Grants

The application portal opening has been delayed by technical issues. We will post the new opening date when the SBA announces it.

This SBA program was amended under the American Rescue Plan Act to provide more than $16 billion in relief to operators or promoters of live performance venues, theater operators, performing arts organizations, museums, movie theaters, and talent representatives that were in business as of Feb. 29, 2020, and can demonstrate a reduction in revenues of at least 25%. $2 billion is reserved for organizations with fewer than 50 employees.

Eligible organizations that were in operation before Jan. 1, 2019, may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, up to a maximum grant of $10 million. Organizations that began operation after Jan. 1, 2019, may receive the average monthly gross revenue for each month of operation during 2019 multiplied by 6, or $10 million, whichever is less.

Organizations that received a PPP loan on or after Dec. 27, 2020, will have the amount of their SVOG grant reduced by the PPP loan amount.

Quick links:

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 have 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

Pennsylvania has allocated $145 million to the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP), which provides grants to businesses in the hospitality sector adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lehigh County received $4.1 million, Northampton County received $3.4 million. Eligible businesses may receive grants of up to $10,000. The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund administers the CHIRP grant program for both counties.

The application period is open until June 15, 2021, or until funding runs out.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Businesses must be privately owned, have an industry classification starting with 721: Accommodation or 722: Food Services and Drinking Places, and be located in either Lehigh or Northampton counties.
  • Businesses must have been in operation on Feb. 15, 2020, currently remain in operation, and do not intend to close permanently within one year of when they apply for the grant.
  • Businesses must have a net worth of no more than $15 million, and have experienced a reduction in gross receipts of at least 25% between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
  • Businesses must have fewer than 300 employees.

Priority will be given to businesses that have not previously received a federal or state loan or grant, were subject to closure by the governor’s emergency order in March 2020, and can show a reduction in gross receipts of 50% or more between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

Restaurant Relief Fund

The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce will provide additional 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. A committee will review and approve applications based on availability of funds, with priority given to restaurants that have not received COVID-19 relief funding previously. 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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$41.2 Billion

2018 Gross Domestic Product

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City Center Lehigh Valley
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10.6% of Labor Force
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Lehigh Valley Health Network
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Air Products
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Labor Force

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Mack Trucks
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