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.

The smallest of small businesses in Lancaster County soon can learn more about the $25 million Small Business Recovery & Sustainability Fund, devised by the Lancaster Chamber and the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County.

The initiative, which will be funded with federal dollars allocated by the Lancaster County Commissioners, is designed to help small businesses harmed by the COVID-19 outbreak by providing grants up to $35,000, to be used for working capital and safety retrofits.

The first wave of funding will distribute $10 million in grants to Lancaster County businesses with 20 or fewer employees; the county has 10,800 businesses of that size.

Details about the program and the type of information needed for applying will be posted on the program website, recoverylancaster.com, as soon as the end of this week. Applications will be available on the same website the week of June 15 for a period of five to seven days.

However, all applications will be assessed; funding decisions will not be made on a first come, first served basis.

Applications will be assessed according to seven criteria, with the most weight (30% of the total score) given to the applicant’s percentage decline in revenue in spring 2020 from spring 2019.

Businesses selected to receive the grants will be subject to the approval of the county commissioners; the recipients’ names, scores and grant amounts will be made public.

Recipients will receive their checks in the first or second week of July, the chamber and EDC said Tuesday.

The process will be repeated in July to distribute another $10 million to small businesses with as many as 100 employees. The final $5 million will be distributed to small businesses in the early fall; parameters for these recipients will be determined by the outcome of the first and second phases.

Small businesses here with fewer than 100 employees also will be eligible to receive personal protective equipment for their employees at no charge to the businesses. Small businesses also can sign up for the free equipment at recoverylancaster.com.

The chamber and EDC said all of the equipment has been ordered but only some has been received so far. The plan’s leaders said they have yet to decide whether to send partial shipments to small businesses now, or to wait until all of the ordered equipment arrives.

At recoverylancaster.com, people also can sign up for free emailed newsletters about new developments in the relief plan.