LEWISBURG, UNION COUNTY (WBRE 28/WYOU 22 EYEWITNESS NEWS) — Many industries were severely impacted throughout the COVID-19 shutdowns, particularly those in hospitality. But one program has worked to help get them back on their feet.
Governor Wolf’s administration came up with a $145 million relief program to help small companies to not only stay in business, but to bounce back from the financial hardships of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program — or CHIRP— provided counties with the funds. The amount was determined by the size and population of each county. It was then distributed to eligible businesses in hospitality the grants.
“The CHIRP program really has been a helping hand to so many business owners that have really struggled over the past 15 to 18 months,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, the deputy secretary of marketing tourism and film at the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
“Having access to funds like this to maintain staff, to cover payroll, to pay utilities, to pay rent, to pay other operating costs, really helps the community,” Ellen Ruby, executive director, Lewisburg Downtown Partnership said.
Elizabeth’s, an American bistro, was one of 19 businesses in Union County to receive the grant. The deadline was in February and the restaurant received the funds in about a month, which all went toward a new patio to expand safer dining.
“And with those, with the grants and you know some bad things happening we’re able to create some nice things. Some nice experiences for the community and for ourselves,” said Liz Furia, the owner of Elizabeth’s.
Furia adds that none of this would be possible without the continued support from the community.