$225M in Virus Relief Available to PA Businesses

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A $225 million grant program in Pennsylvania will aid businesses affected by COVID-19 and the shutdown orders issued by Gov. Tom Wolf.

Eligible business can use the grants to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and reopening process, as well as for technical assistance such as training. 

Wolf announced the funds Monday.

The funds are available through three state programs: 

  • $100 million through the Main Street Business Revitalization Program for small businesses affected by the shutdown order for non-life-sustaining businesses or adapting their operations to COVID-19.
  • $100 million through the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program for businesses at least 51% owned and operated by a member of socially and economically disadvantaged groups.
  • $25 million through the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program for community development financial institutions to offer forbearance and payment relief for portfolio businesses.

“As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and shift our focus toward reopening our commonwealth, we need to help all Pennsylvanians recover. We need to provide assistance for those who were hurt by the pandemic and the resulting economic downturn,” Wolf said in a statement announcing the funding. “This new program will provide direct support to impacted businesses to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and the transition to reopening.”

The funding is made available through the state budget, which includes $2.6 billion in federal funds as part of the coronavirus relief bill passed earlier this year. The state’s Department of Community and Economic Development will distribute funds to community development financial institutions, which will administer the grants.

“Small businesses bore the brunt of the economic impacts of the pandemic. This investment is a good first step toward their recovery and the recovery of communities across the commonwealth,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “This program will benefit multiple diverse industries, brought forward from many partners in the legislature, including Reps. Jared Solomon, Morgan Cephas, Jake Wheatley, Ryan Bizzarro, Chris Sappey and Melissa Shusterman.”

Added state Sen. Vincent Hughes: “The Main Street Business and Historically Disadvantaged Revitalization Programs will provide welcomed relief for mom and pop businesses in neighborhoods across the commonwealth. Since this pandemic began, we have heard the needs of the auto body shops, the barbershops, the beauticians, the pizza shop owners, the soul food establishments and other businesses in our communities. The needs of these businesses that were unable to get much needed help from other state and federal programs were a priority in our Senate Democratic Caucus’ April 29 PA CARES Program announcement.”

Image via Governor Tom Wolf from Harrisburg, PA / CC BY

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.