The Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corp. will be allocating $1.6 million in grants to eligible businesses in the hospitality industry, and is holding a Zoom meeting at 2 p.m. on March 8 to get the word out.

As the designated certified economic development organization for Lebanon County, LVEDC will disburse money from Gov. Tom Wolf’s new COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program, or CHIRP.

“For so many businesses in the hospitality industry, taking the necessary steps that keep employees and patrons safe directly hurts their bottom line,” Wolf said in a release announcing the statewide relief.

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“After all the hardships businesses have endured, and all of the work they have done to keep their communities safer, they need and deserve our help,” he continued. “The COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program will provide immediate relief to these businesses and I urge them to apply as soon as the program opens in their county.”

All 67 counties in the state are participating in the $145 million program, according to the Department of Community and Economic Development. Funding is provided in the form of block grants based on each county’s population.

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“This program was designed to provide the critical help this industry needs, and over the next couple of weeks, counties will get this money into the hands of Pennsylvania’s small business owners,” DCED Secretary Dennis Davin said in the release. “From conception to execution, the CHIRP program can best be described — as the governor likes to say — as Government That Works.”

Grants to businesses will be awarded in $5,000 increments up to $50,000, depending on lost revenue and expenses, Susan Eberly, president and CEO of LVEDC, told LebTown.
Hospitality was an especially hard-hit industry by the pandemic, she said, and Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corp. is pleased to be distributing these much-needed funds.

Businesses eligible for grants are those that have a North American Industry Classification System designation within the accommodation subsector (721) or the food and drinking subsector (722).

Other eligibility criteria include having fewer than 300 full-time equivalent employees and a maximum tangible net worth of not more than $15 million. The Zoom meeting will go over guidelines and the application process.

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An online application portal will open March 15 and close June 15 – or earlier, if the $1.6 million has been disbursed, Eberly said.

To sign up for the Zoom tutorial, please email mkulbitsky@lvedc.org.


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