The COVID-19 pandemic is already exacting a heavy toll on some small local businesses that have been forced to close their doors in the interests of public health and safety.
In response to the economic challenges the state-ordered shutdown has caused many non-essential businesses, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce announced Monday that a relief fund has been created thanks to support from a bank and two local business leaders.
In addition to BB&T now Truist, the relief fund has been funded by Tom Groves Equinox Benefits Consulting and David Jaindl, the chamber said.
The $150,000 fund will provide grant payments of up to $2,000 to business owners who may now be wondering how they will pay things like rent and payroll in the near future.
Grants can also be used to help cover other operating expenses.
“We’re hearing from businesses and nonprofits on every Main Street that they’re trying to hang in and hang on,” said Chamber CEO and President Tony Iannelli in a news release about the relief fund. “We’re all in this together and have been dealt a real economic blow, but we’re on our feet and fighting back.”
“Main Street small businesses are literally the backbone of the American economy,” said Groves. “When they were asked by Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey to shut down, as patriotic American citizens they did it without question to save lives. Now it’s our turn to save them.”
“It is in times like these where we rally around each other as a community,” added Truist region president for Delaware/Lehigh Valley Travis Rhodes. “BB&T now Truist is proud to partner with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce to help our neighbors through this time. What better way to live out our purpose of inspiring and building better lives and communities.”
Businesses interested in applying for a grant should visit the chamber’s website.
Applications will be approved by a committee based on the availability of funds, and priority will be given to businesses operating on a Main Street or in a surrounding neighborhood.
The process is simple and designed to deliver support to those who need it right away, Iannelli said.
There is a deadline to apply for the relief funding of April 13, 2020.