UPDATE: A Note About Moving To Yellow Phase
Today’s news from the Governor that Lancaster County will be moving to the “yellow” phase on June 5 is surely worth celebrating. It signifies that we are winning the battle against COVID-19 and it begins the process of getting our local economy back-on-track.
Nothing like progress as we enter the Memorial Day weekend.
As our minds now start to map out next steps and timelines, let us not forget that the “yellow” phase does not mean we are fully open-for-business. And, as such, there is still a lot of work ahead of every business to continue our safe navigation to normal.
In that regard, we write to provide you with an update –and some additional good news and hope—on the activities surrounding our Economic Recovery Plan.
The Plan, launched by the Lancaster Chamber and the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County on April 26, covers five key areas of ensuring a safe and successful recovery for the Lancaster economy: Business Financing/Support; Public Health Mitigation; Business Retrofit/PPE; Measurements and Analytics; and Communications. All essential elements of advancing Lancaster businesses.
Since the Plan’s launch, more than 100 volunteers have been hard at work developing programs and priorities aimed at assisting business, the workforce and the consumer. This work has involved assessing business needs; coordinating public health issues; targeting specialized populations for unique assistance (i.e., senior living, nursing homes and colleges & universities); studying economic conditions and trends; and prioritizing the role child care and schools will have in our ability to open successfully.
Two prominent initiatives of the Plan, unanimously endorsed and funded by the County Commissioners earlier this week, are a $25 million grant program for small business working capital and business retro-fit for public health protocols; and, a $6 million purchase of Personal Protective Equipment for distribution to all eligible Lancaster County businesses.
Guidelines for both grant programs are being developed and will be before the County Commissioners for their approval next Wednesday. EDC, the Chamber and our volunteer teams are moving as quickly as possible to put the pieces in place to get these funds and programs out ‘on the street.’ To that end, next week, we will be launching a new website and resource hub (coming soon at www.recoverylancaster.com). Over the next 2-3 weeks, that website will grow to serve Lancaster County businesses with a broad range of information to stay on top of all the moving parts of the coronavirus journey. The website will also be the place where detailed information on the programs mentioned above will be housed, inclusive of eligibility and application processes. We will announce the launch of this website through these same channels where you received this, so stay tuned.
Additionally, please know that in the interim the Chamber continues to be a resource for information on reopening. Our website, lancasterchamber.com/coronavirus was updated this afternoon to include industry specific guidance tools, information on the phased reopening strategy and more. In addition, we will continue to offer webinars and other guidance to assist your journey toward re-open. For the coming week, webinars and other virtual content includes: PPP Loan Forgiveness Application and Process, Consortiums featuring Senator Ryan Aument, and Authentic Collaboration in the Remote Era.
Make no mistake about it, today’s announcement marks progress.
We hope all of the above offers some further optimism that Lancaster County is uniquely positioned to help and, as importantly, uniquely positioned to thrive.
Finally, we can’t end a letter today without acknowledging our County’s veterans. Thank you for your service.
Best wishes to all for a relaxing and safe Memorial Day.
Tom Baldrige, President & CEO of the Lancaster Chamber, and Lisa Riggs, President of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County.