I know we’re all a bit frazzled these days. I also know that many businesses need help. Please take a moment of your busy day to read this column, because I’m including some valuable information that I know can truly benefit Adams County businesses.

Over the last six months, I have witnessed our elected officials at every level—local, state, and federal—trying their absolute best to make helpful resources available to businesses. Please know this. I realize many businesses have applied to programs and received some relief funding, while others have not. This is a source of frustration, I know.

This very well could be the most challenging business climate we will ever face. And in the face of extreme challenges, true character comes through. I want to salute all those who have their noses to the grindstone with a positive outlook, working around the clock, often with innovation or creativity, to keep businesses afloat. You are our champions.

With that in mind, I want to recognize our Adams County Commissioners and their team who have taken on the task of creating the process through which our community can access much needed disaster relief. They have made Adams County’s share of the federal CARES Act funding available to eligible businesses and organizations through a grant program called Fund for Adams Investment and Recovery, FAIR.

Applicants eligible for the FAIR grant program:

  • Small businesses with less than 100 full-time employees
  • Tourism related businesses regardless of the number of employees
  • Behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment providers
  • Non-profit organizations as defined by Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986
  • Municipal governments

The application process is online—see our website for a link, plus additional resources. The application deadline for the first round of FAIR funding is September 17. Please continue to check our Alliance website and social media accounts, and subscribe to our eNewsletters, because we continue to share relief programs and resources as they are made available.

To demonstrate how hard our state officials are working right now, I want to share some facts from the recent COVID-19 PA Hazard Pay Program, which thankfully benefitted a number of Adams County businesses!

This program was designed to assist state employers by providing hazard pay to those in frontline positions during this COVID-19 pandemic, including nursing and residential care facilities, hospitals, food manufacturers and retailers, social assistance services and more.

The state’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) received a staggering 10,000 applications totaling $900 million for the program within two week’s time.

First, state officials combed through applications that did not meet the guidelines. Then, they prioritized applications so that the lowest-paying, most high-risk and public-facing jobs took precedence during the application review process.  The pool was whittled down to 5,000 applications requesting more than $300 million.

Next, our DCED colleagues looked at applications in terms of industries and in accordance with the OSHA Worker Exposure Risk and other factors. This is where even more difficult decisions had to be made. Can you imagine having these tasks? I commend them.

Ultimately, 639 employers were awarded $50 million towards 41,587 employees across seven industries. Here are the specific breakdowns:

The industry breakdown of the $50 million is as follows (pro-rated based on eligible applications):

  • Healthcare – 63.5% – $31.75 million
  • Food Manufacturing – 7.2% – $3.6 million
  • Food Retail – 8.2% – $4.09 million
  • Social Assistance – 12.6% – $6.3 million
  • Janitorial – 3.7% – $1.84 million
  • Transportation – 1.2% – $592,000
  • Security – 3.6% – $1.8 million