Lawrence County government is continuing to help small businesses and nonprofits recover some of the losses they suffered from closures and restrictions caused by COVID-19 last month.
At a public meeting last month, the commissioners approved the allocation of $3,000 to each of 84 businesses and nonprofit agencies that had applied for the funds that month by submitting grant certification forms. The deadline was Dec. 28.
The allocations, which totaled $252,000, were in reaction to Gov. Tom Wolf's having released stricter holiday pandemic regulations that shut down many local businesses on Dec. 12. The commissioners as a result opened the COVID-19 small business grant to businesses that fell under the categories of locally owned dine-in restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and bowling alleys.
Commissioner Chairman Morgan Boyd said the funds come from moneys left in the county's $7 million SURE grant, that was in the general fund and had to be spent by Dec. 31. The funds are being distributed to the businesses by electronic transfer into their business bank accounts.
"There certainly was a need for it here in Lawrence County," Boyd said of the extra financial help. "I'm hopeful that it helped some of our small businesses weather this storm. It's not all they needed, but I was glad we were able to give them more funding."
After the new restrictions were imposed statewide last month, the commissioners agreed that they had to do something, Boyd said. "We talked with the rest of our financial team — the county controller and county administrator — and this is what we determined we were able to do."
The SURE funds were administered by the Lawrence County planning department.
"Our rollout of this money was so quick and so successful that it was replicated in other counties in Western Pennsylvania, including Erie and Clearfield counties," Boyd pointed out. Officials in those counties called Lawrence County and said they wanted to use the county's program, he said, adding, "It's nice that Lawrence County is having a regional impact."
The local businesses and organizations that received the funds are:
2 Tomato, 2nd Ward Sanctuary (Ellwood City), Ben Franklin's Beer Barn, Bessemer Croatian Club, Black Bull Crossfit, Body Shop Group Fitness (Ellwood City), Body Genesis LLC, Branding Iron Bar & Grill, Burg Bar & Grill, Capitol Grill, Cedars, Chuck Tanner's Restaurant, Colonial Lanes, The Confluence, Crane Room Grille, Croakers Brewing Co., Crooked Tongue Brewery, Diamond Dance Academy (Ellwood City), Edwards Restaurant and Lounge, Eintracht Singing Society, El Canelo, Elham, Epic Fitness and Tread Studio, Friends Bar and Grill, Gallo's Italian Restaurant, Great Wall, The Grill on the Hill, Grossetti Performance, Hazel's Restaurant, Hill House, Infinity Flow Studio, JDS Fitness, Ladies of the Dukes, La Mangia, Lazy E Bar & Grill, Lindy's Lunch, Little Johnny's, Los Amigos, Koehler Brewing Co. (Ellwood City), Mama Jane's Eatery, Mangino's, Mary's Restaurant, Mister B's, Mohawk Coffee House, Moose Lodge 51, Mugsies Coffee House (New Wilmington), Nahla's, Natalie's Cheer and Tumble, Novosel enterprises, Oceans 11 (Marcia Bruno), Off Limits Gymnastics, Order of the Elks, Parkstown Restaurant & Lounge, Patsy's Bar and Grill, Panella Brothers, Perry S. Gaston American Legion Post 343, Polish Falcons, Polish National Alliance Lodge, Pro Fitness Plus, The Pub, Raw Athletics, Red Hot Restaurant (Ellwood City), Ryder's Restaurant (New Wilmington), Shelby Bar (Ellwood City), Soni's Restaurant, Sons of Italy 1171, Sons and Daughters of Italy 608 (Ellwood CIty), Steel City, Starwood Restaurant and Lounge, Studio P. Dance Studio (Ellwood City), Tony's Lounge, Tony's Oasis, Town and Country Lounge, Town Mall Pizza, Trotter Therapy Services, Turf Bar, Two Fat Guys and An Oven, Venti Sei Winery, VFW Post 315, Vinny's Pizza and Restaurant (Ellwood City), Weisz's Hazel Manor (Ellwood City), YMCA, and Zona's Gym, Tan and Sports.