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Small businesses can apply for up to $100,000 in state grants to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday at a news conference.
The state’s new financial aid program announced Wednesday is meant for any small business having 100 or fewer full-time employees, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
Businesses who are eligible can apply for up to $100,000 in low-interest loans, Wolf said. The state will also offer businesses a 0% interest rate on the loans for the first 12 months.
The money is to help cover rent, utilities and other unavoidable bills, but can’t be used for personnel costs, the release said.
“There’s been major disruption to small businesses and their employees,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “This is a bipartisan down payment to get some working capital out quickly. Much more help is needed and we’ll keep working on that.”
Many businesses have been blindsided with a loss of revenue after Wolf closed restaurants and bars for dine-in service, and all other non-essential businesses. Wolf took that measure to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 and avoid overwhelming health care services and supplies.
The money would be a short-term measure while federal lawmakers in Washington, D.C., work on a national relief package.
The financial assistance, a total of $60 million called the Covid-19 Working Capital Access Program, will be available this week under the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority Small Business First Fund, according to Wolf.
All loan applications must be submitted through a Certified Economic Development Organization. A list of CEDO’s operating within Pennsylvania, can be found at dced.pa.gov/programs/covid-19-working-capital-access-program-cwca/.
Wolf, like many leaders around the nation, has encouraged Pennsylvanians to stay home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and stem the number of COVID-19 cases, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
On Wednesday, the number of cases rose to 1,127 in 44 counties, bringing the state’s death toll to 11.
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