The City of Wilkes-Barre has established an Emergency Relief Loan Program to be accessed by existing non-franchised/locally owned restaurants within the City of Wilkes-Barre, which have been economically harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the program is to help sustain and assist those restaurants to reopen and retain their employees as quickly as possible, subsequent to the COVID-19 restrictions lifting.
Mayor George C. Brown said, “The City is doing everything we can to sustain Wilkes-Barre’s small businesses. Small restaurant owners have put their heart and life savings into their businesses, choosing our city as their home. My administration has put every effort into assisting them to reopen and re-employ as soon as possible.”
The restaurants must meet the Emergency Relief Loan Program guidelines set forth on the City’s website at the following address: www.wilkes-barre.city/restaurantemergencyreliefloanprogram. The application will be available on the City’s website by Friday, April 24th at 9:00 AM, to view, download, complete, and submit via email.
Existing non-franchised/locally owned restaurants must complete an application and submit same to the City for review and processing. Once approved, the businesses will be able to use these funds, primarily to re-employ their employees, restock their food and beverage inventory, and other operational expenses, to assist their reopening and continuation of their business in the city. The maximum loan amount is $7,500.00 per restaurant. The term of the loan shall be twelve (12) months, with 0.0% interest. A one-time balloon payment, for the loan amount, will be due at the end of the loan term. All participants must reopen their business within seven (7) days of receipt of any loan amount and must stay open, as a business, for at least one year. Should the business close, prior to the one-year term, the full amount of the loan should be due and payable immediately.
The fund derived from this program originated over 30 years ago, as an Enterprise Zone Development Program. Due to program changes, low interest rates in the private financing arena and the outdating of the boundaries of the original Enterprise Zone, the fund has been non-operational for over a decade. Rather than allow this money to continue to sit idle, the City administration has restructured the program and adapted it, with the express approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, and the support and assistance of State Senator John T. Yudichak and State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski, to meet the urgent economic needs of our City, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor’s Q&A: Mayor Brown and members of his administration will answer questions regarding the program via a Facebook video on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 4:00 PM. Questions about the program can be emailed to the Mayor’s Executive Assistant, Tyler Ryan at email@example.com by 1:00 PM on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.