Below is helpful information and resources for businesses, employees and the general public in regard to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Check back for updates!
Below is a link to an Economic Recovery Business Survey that the House Republican Caucus is conducting to hear from small business owners, seeking solutions on how to get them back to a profitable business and move Pennsylvania’s economy forward after the economic impacts from COVID-19. The survey will be accessible for 30 days at the following link: http://www.pahousegop.com/businesssurvey
Evangelical Community Hospital Temporarily Suspends COVID-19 Vaccine Registration (1/29)
LEWISBURG – Evangelical Community Hospital has temporarily suspended COVID-19 vaccine registration due to uncertainty of future vaccine supplies. The suspension goes into effect noon Jan. 29.
The Vaccine Team has been working diligently to answer as many calls and schedule as many qualifying individuals as possible. To date appointments have been scheduled through the end of March.
A wait list will continue to be created that will be used if and when vaccine registration resumes. Individuals qualifying for Phase 1A can access the wait list through our website: https://www.evanhospital.com/virus or by calling the hotline (570-522-4530, option 1).
The hotline remains available for questions about the vaccine, questions about previously scheduled appointments and cancellation of appointments. The hotline will now be staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Homelessness prevention grant open to Sunbury & Bloomsburg residents (1/26)
SUNBURY/BLOOMSBURG – Residents at risk of losing their housing in the City of Sunbury or the Town of Bloomsburg may be eligible to receive up to $5,000 to prevent homelessness.
The Resident Subsistence Program is being offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support hard-hit residents. It is funded with a $73,554 entitlement Community Development Block Grant-CARES Act (CDBG-CV) in Sunbury and a $119,770 entitlement CDBG-CV in Bloomsburg.
The grants can be used to pay utility payments to prevent cutoff of service and rent/mortgage payments to prevent eviction. The need for assistance must be directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic – loss of income caused by the shutdown or mitigation efforts.
Each eligible family may receive up to $5,000, paid directly to the mortgage holder, landlord, or utility company on their behalf. Funds will not be given directly to families. Assistance is available for up to 100 days per family.
Applications will be accepted starting Feb. 1. While there is no deadline to apply, the program is on a first-come, first-serve basis and ends when the funds are spent.
Central Susquehanna Opportunities Inc. (CSO) will provide the grants to Sunbury residents, as allocated by the City of Sunbury. CSO is managing the program on behalf of the city. SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) is administering the CDBG funds and ensuring compliance.
AGAPE will provide the grants to Bloomsburg residents, as allocated by the Town of Bloomsburg. AGAPE is managing the program on behalf of the town. SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) is administering the CDBG funds and ensuring compliance.
Applicants must be at risk of losing their housing. Homeowners must provide documentation from the mortgage holder showing payments in arrears and renters must sign the self-certification eviction form. Assistance can be made to families whose income is at or below the HUD Section 8 income limits for Northumberland County at the time of application. Applicants must complete an income verification interview to qualify for this program.
For more information or to set up an appointment to apply, Sunbury residents may contact Andrea Kehler Herb at 570-644-6575 ext. 119, cell 570-917-3091, or via e-mail at email@example.com. Bloomsburg residents may contact Karen Heap at 570-317-2210.
SEDA-COG’s Community Development program administers 14 CDBG contracts for 28 communities. Over 35 years, the program has secured $120 billion for over 1,000 projects with its 12 dedicated staff.
As a community and economic development agency, SEDA-COG enhances the quality of life and economic advantage for residents and businesses in 11 central Pennsylvania counties through its vital partnerships and initiatives. SEDA-COG also is an advocate for the interests of its communities at the state and federal levels. For more information, visit www.seda-cog.org.
Small business support grant open to Sunbury businesses (1/26)
SUNBURY – Small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the City of Sunbury may be eligible to receive up to $7,500 to assist in economic recovery.
The Small Business Support Grant Program is being offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support hard-hit businesses and is funded with a $40,000 entitlement Community Development Block Grant-CARES Act (CDBG-CV). Eligible businesses must be located in the city limits of the City of Sunbury and be able to document negative impacts of the COVID-19 shutdown/mitigation efforts.
The grants can be used to pay utility payments, rent/mortgage payments, payroll, inventory and supplies, and marketing/advertising costs as relief for the negative impacts COVID-19 has had on the business. Applicants are required to declare all other programs and awards they have received in response to the coronavirus to ensure there will be no duplication of benefits.
Applications will be accepted from Feb. 1 to 28. Awards will be made in March 2021.
Sunbury Revitalization Inc. (SRI) will provide the grants to Sunbury businesses, as allocated by the City of Sunbury. SRI is managing the program on behalf of the city. Sunbury Revitalization Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic development, instilling pride, and fostering a sense of community in the City of Sunbury and the surrounding area.
SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) is administering the CDBG funds and ensuring compliance.
For more information, Sunbury businesses may contact City Administrator Derrick Backer at 570-286-7820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evangelical Community Hospital Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Registration
LEWISBURG – On Jan. 25, Evangelical Community Hospital opened its new registration process for individuals eligible for Phase 1A of the PA Department of Health’s vaccination plan. Phase 1A includes healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents, individuals 65 and older, and individuals 16-64 with certain high-risk conditions.
Eligible recipients should call 570-522-4530, then press 1, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8 am-6 pm. Calls to this number will only be answered during the hours specified and will be answered by a live operator.
Established patients of any Family Medicine of Evangelical or Internal Medicine of Evangelical practice who are 65 and older or 16-64 with a qualifying condition can also call their primary care office to register for their vaccination.
The Hospital is only vaccinating individuals and organizations qualifying for Phase 1A of the Pennsylvania Department of Health vaccination plan. There is no timeline for members of the general public who are 64 or younger with no qualifying conditions.
“We are encouraged by the number of individuals who have shown interest in receiving the vaccination as this is a key step in combating COVID-19 in our community,” said Brian Wolfe, Vice President of Clinic and Physician Practices, Evangelical Community Hospital. “Our systems are in place to begin serving the expanded population eligible for the vaccine. We do ask for patience as we work through the list of people who are eligible.”
Due to the number of individuals now qualifying for Phase 1A of the state’s vaccination plan, non-healthcare workers will be assessed an administrative fee for vaccination.
For more information, please visit www.evanhospital.com/virus. This information includes what is needed at the time of vaccination, guidance on what to do after receiving the vaccine, and answers to other frequently asked questions.
GSV Vaccine Task Force releases statement, launches web site
SUNBURY – The recently formed Greater Susquehanna Valley COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force releases the following statement related to vaccinations in our region:
“We recognize that there has been much confusion around the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. While there are many rules and procedures in place to ensure the most effective and efficient distribution, there are always challenges with such a wide-scale project.
Over the past few weeks, there has been concern around who, when, and how people can get the vaccine. We have created a Greater Susquehanna Valley COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. The purpose of this committee is to ensure that everyone is working together in a coordinated fashion. Our goal is to make sure all who are interested and able can get the COVID-19 vaccine, with those who are most at-risk first.
There is still uncertainty and a limited number of vaccines, so we kindly ask for your patience and trust in our leaders as we move forward. We advocate for continuing to deliver the vaccine in cooperative approach. Additionally, we hope to offer clarity, peace of mind, and the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 vaccine.”
To better communicate information about the vaccine, the task force has created a COVID-19 Vaccine website for the local counties. On the site, visitors can find simple, up-to-date information about the vaccine in our area. Visit vaccine-gsv.org to learn more.
The Greater Susquehanna Valley COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force consists of the following partners: the county leadership and emergency management directors of Northumberland, Snyder, and Union Counties, the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, Central Susquehanna Opportunities, Evangelical Community Hospital, Family Practice Centers, Geisinger Health System, Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way, Northumberland County Agency on Aging, Primary Health Network, Union-Snyder Community Action Agency, and the Union-Snyder Agency on Aging, Inc.
Below are links to register for one of the upcoming SBA Emergency Loans Webinars to help small businesses in applying and/or have questions related to the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
As stated on the web site: “This is an interim vaccine plan from the department. Many components of the COVID-19 vaccine plan remain fluid and continue to be modified and adapted as more announcements and decisions are made at the federal level. The department is continuing to receive feedback and will be modifying this plan and posting public updates to this in the coming weeks.”
U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Treasury announce PPP Re-opening; Issue new guidance (1/8/21)
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Treasury Department, announced today that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will re-open the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. To promote access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. Updated PPP guidance outlining Program changes to enhance its effectiveness and accessibility was released on January 6 in accordance with the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act.
This round of the PPP continues to prioritize millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses through March 31, 2021, and by allowing certain existing PPP borrowers to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.
“The historically successful Paycheck Protection Program served as an economic lifeline to millions of small businesses and their employees when they needed it most,” said Administrator Jovita Carranza. “Today’s guidance builds on the success of the program and adapts to the changing needs of small business owners by providing targeted relief and a simpler forgiveness process to ensure their path to recovery.”
“The Paycheck Protection Program has successfully provided 5.2 million loans worth $525 billion to America’s small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “This updated guidance enhances the PPP’s targeted relief to small businesses most impacted by COVID-19. We are committed to implementing this round of PPP quickly to continue supporting American small businesses and their workers.”
Key PPP updates include:
- PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs;
- PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures;
- The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, destination marketing organizations, among other types of organizations;
- The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees;
- Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount; and
- Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.
A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:
- Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses;
- Has no more than 300 employees; and
- Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
The new guidance released includes:
- PPP Guidance from SBA Administrator Carranza on Accessing Capital for Minority, Underserved, Veteran, and Women-owned Business Concerns;
- Interim Final Rule on Paycheck Protection Program as Amended by Economic Aid Act; and
- Interim Final Rule on Second Draw PPP Loans.
Below are two links to aid members directly affected by Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts in effect from Dec. 12 to Jan. 4.
Support local businesses here: https://centralpachamber.com/businesses/
Buy PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) here: https://centralpachamber.com/supplies/
PPL Electric Utilities shares that the National Minority Supplier Development Council is offering a Rebuilding Fund Grant. These funds are intended for structural repairs, inventory recovery and other operational improvements needed as a result of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 and/or damage and vandalism from recent social unrest. Applications must be submitted by Dec. 15. Click here for the grant application.
Columbia County COVID-19 Relief Block Grant (Small Business/Tourism Grant Program)
Grant applications must be completed and submitted through the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation’s grant website. The deadline to apply is MONDAY, NOV. 9, 2020 at 11:59pm, online. For questions about the online grant application, contact Christine Orlando, CSCF Senior Program Officer at email@example.com or 570-752-3930 ext. 2.
Preview the application here. Please note: This PDF is a sample of the application only. No paper applications will be accepted. All submissions must be made online.
It is the intent of the Columbia County Commissioner’s Small Business/Tourism Grant to provide qualifying businesses a grant equal to five months of the business’ fixed cost budget, with a maximum grant amount of $20,000. A statutory clause states that “priority” is to be given to businesses that did not receive a loan or grant through the Federal Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Disaster Loan Program. Therefore, those business’ fixed cost calculation will be adjusted upward by 5%.
The County Commissioners have set aside a fund of $225,000 for this grant program. If sufficient funds are not available to fully fund the intended target, all qualifying businesses will receive a pro-rata share of the $225,000 set aside amount. For purposes of this grant, “fixed cost” is defined as base costs involved in operating the business and will consist of:
- Rental lease/mortgage payments
- Property and liability insurance costs
- Property taxes (if paid by the business)
- Utilities to operate the business facility
- Lost inventory due to the COVID-19 emergency
Who is eligible?
- Any for-profit businesses or individuals doing business as businesses with base location in Columbia County, PA
- One Owner per business may apply
- Businesses who applied and were approved or denied for funding through Grantround #1 in August 2020 are not eligible to reapply again in Grantround #2
- Must be in business by March 1, 2019 and still in business on July 1, 2020
- Must intend to stay in business through at least July 1, 2021
- Total employees less than 100 OR entity primarily engaged in the Tourism industry
- Business must be based in Columbia County, PA
- Net Profit in March 1 – June 30, 2020 window must be less than Net Profit in March 1 – June 30, 2019 window
- Must not owe federal, state or local taxes
- Must not be subject to criminal justice process as per the question in the application
- Most recently filed federal tax return
- Entity documents including DBA or FBN certificate and proof of ownership
- Business License (if sole proprietor)
- Government Issued ID
- Evidence of fixed costs including: mortgage/rent/lease payments, utility costs, license fees, property tax bills, property and liability insurance bills, attest to any inventory lost
*GRANT PROGRAM GUIDELINES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
SEDA-COG announced that certain Lycoming County-based small business/organizations will be able to apply for COVID relief funds from the CARES Act. Grants from $5,000-$50,000 will be awarded. The application window is from Aug. 31 through Sept. 18. Three informational Zoom sessions have been scheduled on Sept. 2.
To learn more, click here: http://www.lyco.org/covidrelief
State Rep. Lynda Culver released a statement on Facebook regarding the “COVID-19 PA Hazard Pay Grant” – “Recently, businesses throughout the Commonwealth were awarded COVID-19 PA Hazard Pay Grants. In the time since, we have noticed some confusion regarding how these grants are distributed. These grants act as a reimbursement for businesses who provide hazard pay to their workers, and would be distributed to those companies only after their employees are paid. Documentation of such pay would be required to receive the reimbursement grants. These funds are not meant to be directly used as hazard pay, per se, but rather to reimburse companies who choose to provide hazard pay of their own volition.” The grant application period closed in July.
Members providing services to help you reopen
Process to Reopen Pennsylvania
Plan for PA *based on Gov. Wolf’s announcement 4/17
The following financial institutions are currently accepting new members to help with financial assistance programs related to COVID-19.
Pinpoint Federal Credit Union, 603 Center St., Milton, PA 17847 / 570-742-3903 (Brenda Raker or Lynn Swank)
Service 1st Federal Credit Union, 1985 Montour Blvd., Danville, PA 17821 / 570-271-7579 (Scot Temple)
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Businesses may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be returned to the local DLOC or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The deadline to return economic injury disaster loan applications is Dec. 21, 2020.
Assistance with securing loans
SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) can help direct and offer guidance to central Pennsylvania businesses. Contact Doug Wilburn, director of Business Finance, at 570-524-4491 or email@example.com.
Businesses may also contact the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-833-722-6778, option 0.
Eligible members can receive “gap loans” when attempting to secure a loan with an eligible financial institution.
Other forms of assistance
Need help setting up a video meeting? (e.g. Zoom, Google Hangout) Contact Scott Kramer at SEDA-COG. E-mail SKramer@seda-cog.org or call 570-522-7332 or 570-898-6270.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation benefits. Click here
If you have further questions, call 202-693-4600 or e-mail the U.S. Department of Labor at OCIACongressionalNotifications@dol.gov.
“Private businesses, organizations, and other noncompliant entities face possible criminal penalties under the Administrative Code of 1929, 71 P.S. § 1409 and/or the Pennsylvania Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955, 35 P.S. § 521.20(a). Both violations are summary offenses punishable by fines and even jail time. Violators may also be subject to additional administrative penalties under certain circumstances.” – Col. Robert Evanchick, Commissioner for the Pennsylvania State Police (WKOK)
Questions about your business/organization? Call 1-877-PA-HEALTH, option 1 or e-mail email@example.com.
Comment from the Central PA Chamber…
“Recently, the Central PA Chamber of Commerce has been asked how it’s been able to host in-person events, as recently as Dec. 4 with a Breakfast Briefing.
Since reopening its office in the beginning of June, the Central PA Chamber has requested all members and guests of its facility to follow all official state/federal guidelines related to COVID-19. This has continued through to the present time. For instance, face coverings are worn by guests, who are given the option to remove them while seated and eating breakfast, similar to how it works in a restaurant setting.
At the event, upon arrival there is hand sanitizer available not only at registration, but where the gathering occurs, too. Bathrooms are also conveniently located for hand washing.
In addition, breakfast is served by staff only, who are wearing masks and gloves the entire time they are around the food. Utensils are individually wrapped and only handled by the individual guests. In addition, the beverage area is located in a different room. This also helps avoid the chance of a line forming.
In “The Smith Training Center”, where the event is held, tables are spaced out to promote social distancing. Overall attendance at this event has been drastically reduced to keep with the state/federal COVID-19 guidelines.
Just recently, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), who regularly attends the Breakfast Briefings, made a comment after attending the most recent event.
“I enjoy the Breakfast Briefings that you and the staff hold regularly. It is so important and very difficult in this time of COVID to keep in touch and be able to market safely. I applaud your efforts and dedication to keeping all members and visitors who attend safe and protected. I find myself comfortable with the way you have set things up. “Thank you, again, for providing a safe environment for me to continue to network. I appreciate it!!!”
If you should have any questions or concerns about any activities at the Central PA Chamber of Commerce you are always encouraged to contact President & CEO Tea Jay Aikey at 570-742-7341.”
In a position to help?
The Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development – in collaboration with its strategic partners – wants to mobilize manufacturers that can produce critical medical supplies and products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a current manufacturer of supplies and products or can pivot your existing manufacturing capabilities to meet the necessary demand, they want to hear from you!
Questions? E-mail: RA-DCEDPAMCTAP@pa.gov
Companies seeking to Import or Manufacture Medical Products to Aid the U.S. Response to COVID-19:
If a company would like to import or produce medical products to help with the COVID-19 response, send these inquiries to FEMA at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include as many details as possible about the request (e.g., manufacturer name, address, product and model number) and contact information for the company, either an agent in the U.S. or the company itself.
If companies have medical supplies or equipment to donate, e-mail FEMA’s National Business Emergency Operations Center at email@example.com. For additional information, see www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help.
The White House has further inquired about component parts to aid the nation’s COVID-19 response:
The National Association of Manufacturers is aiming to quickly collect information about your potential to donate, produce and ship components. Click here to take the survey
Evangelical Community Hospital
Financial Support, Goods and Services
Anyone wishing to donate funds to support the Hospital should mail a check to Evangelical Community Hospital, Attention: Development, 1 Hospital Drive, Lewisburg, PA 17837 or complete the online donation form at www.evanhospital.com/support.
Anyone wishing to donate new or unused supplies, food items, or services, should contact Donna Schuck, Associate Vice President of Development, at 570-522-2596 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who would like to donate food to Evangelical staff on duty is asked to call 570-522-4056 to arrange delivery.
Words of Encouragement
To send an e-mail and/or attach cards and pictures to offer encouragement to staff at Evangelical Community Hospital, e-mail: email@example.com. E-mails are fed into a library on Evan’s portal so staff can look at the messages and pictures.
Pennsylvania Animal Response Team
They are working with the government and non-profit partners to prepare to provide pet supplies to quarantined or home-bound Pennsylvanians, and to provide temporary sheltering for pets of first responders or those who are hospitalized or otherwise unable to care for them.
To that end, they have designed a survey to develop a list of pet food stores, veterinary clinics, kennels, pet food banks and other resources for animals that may be willing to assist in this crisis. If you would like to assist, please, fill out the survey.
General Information (symptoms, prevention, confirmed cases, etc.)
Need to make a general inquiry? E-mail: RA-DHCOVIDQUESTIONS@pa.gov
Heard a rumor? Click here
Lewisburg Downtown Partnership *As of 4/21