Re-Opening Lancaster County

Due To Corona We Are Closed Further Notice Mandatory By State says the sign in the door at Smokers Tobacco Shop in Ephrata Friday May 15, 2020.

Small businesses harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic can begin applying Tuesday for $225 million in grants under the state’s new Small Business Assistance program administered by community development financial institutions.

In Lancaster County, the participating institutions are Assets and the Community First Fund.

To be eligible for this first round of grants, which will range from $5,000 to $50,000, small businesses must have 25 or fewer employees and annual revenue (before the pandemic) of $1 million or less.  (Lancaster County has about 11,000 businesses this size.) Additional rounds will be forthcoming.

The program earmarks $100 million for a new Mainstreet Business Revitalization Program that assists small businesses harmed by Gov. Tom Wolf’s March 19 to close all but life-sustaining businesses, or will incur costs adapting operations to new safety protocols.

It earmarks another $100 million for a new Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program that assists business in the above circumstances, but also are operated by and majority owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

The remaining $25 million is for a new Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program, for businesses that are behind in the loans from the institutions and for institutions that need their finances strengthened due to loan defaults.

The application period ends July 14 at 11:59 p.m. All applications will be considered; the grants will not be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Businesses that have received other assistance during the pandemic -- such as aid from the Small Business Administration, Paycheck Protection Program or the Lancaster Chamber and Economic Development Company of Lancaster County -- still can apply for this program.

For more information, visit https://pabusinessgrants.com/

Interested small businesses in Lancaster County wishing to apply can visit assetspa.org or www.communityfirstfund.org/.