Governor Wolf has ordered all non-life sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations. Please see the link below for additional information:
Small Business Financing
City of Bethlehem
The Small Business Emergency Relief Fund has been created to assist city businesses impacted by COVID 19 in maintaining their business and retaining jobs. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding will be used to award 150 one-time grant awards of $2,000. Awarded funds can be used for operational costs inclusive of rental assistance, payroll assistance, and utilities to allow businesses to ensure that their limited resources are sufficient to maintain their business and workforce.
CDBG is federal funding with specific eligibility criteria. To be eligible, businesses must be located in the City of Bethlehem and comply with CDBG guidelines. These requirements include meeting a CDBG National Objective. Criteria includes activities benefitting low to moderate income persons, with a specific focus on the retention of low to moderate income jobs. All businesses are encouraged to apply.
Applications for the program will be available on the city's website beginning Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Click this link for more information.
Additional Funding Notice: The SBA will resume accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30 am EDT. With the additional funding provided by the new COVID-19 relief package, SBA will resume processing EIDL Loan and Advance applications that are already in the queue on a first come, first-serve basis. We will provide further information on the availability of the EIDL portal to recieve new applications (including those from agricultural enterprises) as soon as possible.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Paycheck Protection Program
Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).Due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, small businesses and non-profits can get up to a $10,000 Advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan even if their previous application was declined or is pending.
• Click here to apply.
Express Bridge Loans
Express bridge loans are available up to $25,000 and can be used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. The loan will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan. Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender by connecting with your local SBA District Office.
- The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll by providing each small business a loan up to $10 million for payroll and certain other expenses. If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable.
• You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any
federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union,
and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other
regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are
approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your
local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
• The U.S. Treasury has documents related to this program on their
• Find a local lender here.
• The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees
of current 7 (a) loans for a period of six months.
• The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of
new 7 (a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020.
The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus.
Lehigh SBDC can assist with applying for SBA Loans
NOTE: As of 6 p.m. on March 31, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development no longer is accepting applications for the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA). The applications received as of that time surpassed the funding available to the program
Economic Impact Payments
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people
Employee Retention Credit
The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.
Working Capital Access Program
- Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) has opened the application process for working capital loans up to $100,000 to help small businesses through the COVID-19 emergency. Under PIDA’s COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA), for-profit small businesses with 100 or fewer employees worldwide could be eligible for working capital loans up to $100,000.
- • CWCA Fact Sheet
• Program Guidelines
• Apply for a CWCA loan
Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal
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.
Northampton County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Fund
Line of Credit amounting to $3,000-$15,000 is administered by the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund. The interest rate is 0% with 12 month term (No payments due the first 11 months. A balloon payment is due on the 12 month). Any business in Northampton County, which has been in operation for at least one fiscal year and has 100 employees or less are eligible to apply. $250,000 in funding has been allotted to this program. Personal guarantee from ALL owners is required.
- • To apply, or for more information click here
Additional Private Program
- Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Grant
- Grants available up to $2,000 to help with payroll, rent and other operating expenses.
- • Check the link above for updates on funding availability and
- opportunities to apply.
- James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund
- Micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need
- • If interested in the process and criteria CLICK HERE
- MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund
- Music industry professionals may apply for basic living assistance (rent or mortgage). Initial grant requests can be made up to $1000 to compensate for cancelled work that was scheduled and lost.
- Restaurant Employee Relief Fund
- Through the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, we will provide grants to restaurant industry employees who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, financially, whether through a decrease in wages or loss of employment.
For a list of additional programs and resources see the Forbes Small Business Relief Tracker
Additional Small Business Financing Resources (not related to COVID-19)
• Bethlehem Small Business Loan Fund
• Exterior Improvement Loan Program
• Rising Tide Community Loan Fund
• Community First Fund
• Lehigh SBDC
• Lehigh Valley Score
• Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board
SBA Disaster Loan Training Webinars are offered Monday through
Friday. Each Webinar starts at 12:00 noon and
concludes at 1:30 p.m.
• PA SBDC COVID-19 Webinars for small businesses are offered here.
• Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce are offered here.
Pennsylvania Department of Health
DOH-COVID Information for Businesses
CDC Guidance for Building Water Systems
CDC offers guidance for Business Owners to ensure safety and quality of water service in thier facilities after a prolonged shutdown.
Stagnant, or standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella and other biofilm-associated bacteria. Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of chlorine disinfectant. Ensure that your water system is safe to use after a prolonged shutdown to minimize the risk of water-borne diseases such as Legionnaire's disease. Examples of systems to check include drinking water distribution systems, plumbing fixtures, hot water heaters, spas and pools, and cooling towers.
For more information, please visit the following link:
Johns hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Operational Toolkit for Businesses Considering Reopening or Expanding Operations in COVID-19. Please see the link below:
Property and Homeowners
For information on housing inspections and code related concerns, see the "City of Bethlehem Services " tab of this page. Additional information can be found at the following link:
City Funded Housing Rehab Programs
Homeowners may still submit electronic or mailed applications but no onsite work will be performed until further notice. Emergency repairs and Lead Based Paint emergency work will be performed on an as needed basis. Information on these programs can be found at the following link:
Tenants Rights and Fair housing Concerns
Questions and concerns about tenants' rights and Fair Housing violations during this crisis can be mailed to Penn Legal Services. Penn Legal is a non-profit that is supported by the City of Bethlehem in order to address concerns of this nature. At this time, Penn Legal's office is closed and is accepting online inquiries only. Send inquiries to : https://www.northpennlegal.org/
Questions on Evictions and Foreclosures
An eviction is a legal process carried out by the local court system. The Northampton and Lehigh County courts are currently closed and not proceeding with eviction hearings at this time. Questions on the County's court system can be found at the following links:
Northampton County: https://www.nccpa.org/magisterial-district-judges
Lehigh County: https://www.lehighcounty.org/Services/Suspended-Services
Additional information about evictions can be found in the "federal eviction moratorium for tenants living in certain types of housing" which provides further guidance on tenants' rights and foreclosures during this time. A summary of this moratorium can be viewed on the National Housing Law Project's website at the following link: https://www.nhlp.org/wp-content/uploads/2020.03.27-NHLP-CARES-Act-Eviction-Moratorium-Summary.pdf
If you believe that you have been wrongfully evicted from your home or wrongfully had your property foreclosed, you can file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General of PA at the following link: https://www.attorney general.gov/taking-action/press-releases/ag-shapiro-to-landlords-pennsylvanians-cannot-be-evicted-during-state-emergency/
Note: The information provided is not intended to substitute or constitute as legal advice. It is recommended to seek professional legal advice on specific matters that arise.
If COVID-19 is making you feel isolated, stressed out or anxious, you are not alone - and it's okay to ask for help
Behavioral Health Services
Lehigh County Crisis Intervention. Licensed telephone and mobile crisis services that provide mental health assessments regardless of income or insurance. Crisis Intervention operates 24-hour/7 days a week. Lehigh County Crisis Intervention can be contacted at 610-782-3127.
Staff from the Office of Mental Health are available to answer questions about the programs and services available. If you are actively receiving mental health services in the County system, they can assist you. If you are not currently registered in the County Mental Health system and wish to access County funded/supportive services, please call Information and referral at 610-782-3200.
Other resources available to Pennsylvanians in need of support:
• Northampton County Crisis Hotline : 610-252-9060
• Greater Lehigh Valley Warmline 6:00 AM – 2:00 AM, 7 days a week:
• Statewide Support & Referral Helpline: 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
• Línea Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
• Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741
• Safe2Say: 1-844-723-2729 or www.safe2saypa.org
• Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
• Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
• Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357
For any additional information, please visit the following websites:
PA Department of Health (PADOH)
PADOH has created a new Hospital Preparedness Dashboard that provides county-level information about how many beds and ventilators are in use and available to meet our health care needs. Please see the following link.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
What are the guidelines for reopening?
The CDC has recently released new Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes. Please follow the link below:
When should I wear a mask?
When going to a supermarket, pharmacy or other life-sustaining business, wear a cloth mask to enter the store. Your mask will help protect our critical workers at these businesses, like cashiers, those stocking shelves + pharmacists.
People who can't wear a mask due to a medical condition + children under 2 may enter without a mask.
If a customer does not wish to wear a mask, stores must provide an alternate means of delivering goods.
Enforcement begins on Sunday, April 19 at 8 pm.
Read the full order: https://bit.ly/2ygorEb
Don’t have a cloth mask? Make one at home easily—even if you can't sew. Follow these simple instructions: bit.ly/2K71Mgj
Save the surgical masks and N95s for health care workers and first responders.
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats.
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
As of March 30, 2020 the CDC announced period of exposure risk has changed from “onset of symptoms” to “48 hours before symptom onset”
How can the coronavirus spread?
Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:
• Through the air by coughing or sneezing
• Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
• Touching an object or surface with the virus on it
• Occasionally, fecal contamination.
How can I help protect myself?
• Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
• Clean surfaces frequently, including counter tops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
• Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.
I am an employee and I work at a company where an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. What is the role of the Bethlehem Health Bureau?
If a Bethlehem resident tests positive for COVID-19, the Bethlehem Health Bureau interviews the individual to determine who they were in close contact with since showing symptoms. As part of that interview, we review work and school status. If the person is employed by a business that is open to the public, we provide that information to the general community. If it is a private employer, we work with the employer to notify close contacts of the positive case. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has a toolkit for businesses related to COVID-19 and we provide this information to employers as well.