Important Updates Related to the Lancaster County Economic Recovery Plan
Two key components of the Lancaster County Economic Recovery Plan, which is led by EDC and the Lancaster Chamber, continue to advance. At today’s Lancaster County Board of Commissioners meeting, the County Commissioners approved guidelines that detail: (1) the $6 million program to provide free personal protective equipment (PPE) to Lancaster County businesses with 100 or fewer employees; and (2) the general parameters for the first phase of the $25 million Small Business Recovery & Sustainability Fund that will award grants to Lancaster County-based businesses.
Today’s guideline approval sets in motion key next steps to getting both PPE and grant funds into the hands of small businesses in Lancaster County. These steps include:
- Purchasing (already underway), delivering and kitting bulk quantities of PPE.
- Finalizing application materials and instructions related to the grant funds.
- Building and testing online registration tools (work that is underway).
- Launching an aggressive communications campaign to alert businesses across Lancaster County to these opportunities along with their eligibility criteria and processes.
- Translating information and instructions into Spanish.
- Distributing printed information to accommodate potential applicants throughout the community who may not have ready access to technology.
At this time, it is expected that the PPE program will be ready first, quickly followed by the initial phase of the grant application process. Both programs are expected to roll out to the business community in the next two to three weeks.
Here are key summary details from the guidelines approved today:
PPE for Small Business
- Personal protective equipment is free to any Lancaster County business, nonprofit, sole proprietor or agricultural production operation with 100 or fewer employees.
- Businesses must register via an online portal, which is not yet available. Registration will require employment and industry information and a valid shipping address, along with a few other simple data points and a certification.
- PPE is being purchased and will be packaged into kits. Approximately 30 types of kits will be assembled to accommodate different needs by industry and by size of employer. Kits will not be customized for each business. Information entered into the registration portal will determine which kit type a business will receive.
- Kit components may include: reusable face masks, disposable face masks, face shields, thermometer, hand sanitizer, and packaged cleaning wipes. These components will vary based on employment size and industry, as well as availability of bulk supplies.
- At this time, it is expected that all kits will be mailed.
Small Business Recovery & Sustainability Fund
- $10 million of the $25 million in funding will be offered in the first phase. Two additional phases are anticipated.
- Lancaster County-based businesses with 20 or fewer employees (by head count) will be eligible for this first phase. Future phases will be open to businesses with up to 100 employees.
- For-profit, nonprofit (501c3), sole proprietor, and agricultural entities are eligible. Passive businesses such as commercial and residential landlords are not eligible.
- Grants will be based on the lesser of these two figures: a $35,000 maximum award OR three months of average operating costs based on 25 percent of the total business operating expenses reported on the most recently filed federal tax return.
- The grant application process will not be on a first-come, first-served basis. The application period is expected to be open for five to seven days, and all applications submitted during that period will be evaluated.
- The grant is intended to support businesses with working capital needs, including those associated with public health requirements and retrofit costs.
- The grant application process involves the following:It is expected that demand for grant funds will exceed supply. The approved guidelines today include the scoring criteria and approach the review team will use to evaluate all applications.
- Instructions, which detail the required supporting documentation, will be posted several days before the application period opens. Dates for the application submission period and the final review process will be posted.
- The application portal will open online; printed applications will be available as will Spanish translations. Applicants will be required to sign off on a certification.
- Once the application portal closes, applications will be reviewed and scored.
- The total list of applicants, as well as the recommendations for grant awards, will be presented to the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners for final review and approval at the earliest date possible. Lists of all applicants and grant recipients will be made public. (Private business information submitted through the application process will NOT be public.)
EDC and the Lancaster Chamber will continue to do our best to keep you informed on these key activities, and on other Economic Recovery Plan efforts. Please look for future emails, social media posts and website updates.
Tom Baldrige, President & CEO of the Lancaster Chamber
Lisa Riggs, President of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County