19 Union County Restaurants Awarded $500,000 through Wolf Administration COVID-19 Hospitality Relief Program

Gov. Wolf secured $145 million in pandemic relief for the hospitality industry

Lewisburg, PA – The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) today joined the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership, SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG), Union County Commissioners, and restaurant owners to highlight more than $500,000 in funding that will be provided to 19 Union County restaurants through the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) by July 15.

“Pennsylvania’s service and hospitality industry brings life, color, and meaning to our communities, and the impact of COVID-19 on these small businesses was nothing short of devastating,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, DCED’s deputy secretary of Marketing, Tourism, and Film. “We are thrilled to see this critical funding making its way to our hotels, restaurants, and bars, so that they can begin the road to recovery and continue to provide food, memories, and fun to Pennsylvania residents and visitors for years to come.”

Union County received applications from 21 eligible businesses for its CHIRP allocation. Nineteen restaurants received $502,354, with an average grant amount of $26,439.68.

Last year, Governor Tom Wolf secured $145 million in funding support businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the commonwealth has worked with counties and economic development partners to quickly send assistance to the hospitality industry.

“When the CHIRP grant opportunity was announced earlier this year, the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership encouraged all of our eligible businesses to apply for these funds,” said Ellen Ruby, executive director of the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership. “Eight of the 19 Union County CHIRP grant recipients are downtown Lewisburg businesses. Use of these funds ranges from payroll and rent to development of outdoor dining space. One business indicated that these funds helped them to keep all staff employed and avoid layoffs as they came through and out of this difficult last year.”

Counties are administering the funding through one or more designated Community Economic Development Organizations (CEDO) or Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), which began processing applications from businesses in each county on March 15. Funding must be provided to businesses by July 15.

“SEDA-COG was pleased to partner with the commonwealth and local officials to direct relief funding to our community’s small businesses, which were in dire need of help during the course of the pandemic,” said Kim Wheeler, SEDA-COG executive director. “We knew we needed to distribute these grants quickly, and we are proud of the swift work undertaken to benefit restaurants across Union County.”

Elizabeth’s American Bistro received $25,000 in funding under the program, which helped owner Elizabeth Long-Furia install an outdoor dining space for patrons to safely dine during the pandemic. Opened in August of 1997, Elizabeth’s is an 85-seat upscale American Bistro with deep roots in the local community. In 2008, 2010 and 2011, Elizabeth’s received first place on Central PA Magazine’s hot list, a reader’s poll on the best restaurants in the area.

“I am thankful to SEDA-COG for helping us through the grant process and the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership for their assistance throughout these past months,” said Elizabeth’s American Bistro owner Elizabeth Long-Furia. “The CHIRP grant allowed us to create a beautiful, outdoor dining space for our customers. Grants like CHIRP and the support our downtown has seen from our community have made all the difference.”

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Casey Smith, DCED, casesmith@pa.gov

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