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County throws small businesses a critical lifeline

Some positive news came this week for 15 small businesses in our area, which ultimately should benefit the communities where these beloved businesses operate.

They are to benefit from $137,650 in grant funding — much like other businesses that were recipients earlier this year — that is part of the $10.2 million in COVID-19 relief funding received by Lycoming County. The relief funding must be spent by the end of the year.

The size of the grants is relatively small — from as little as $500 to as much as $22,600 — but they represent a badly needed lifeline during this critical time.

As the weather gets ever cooler and people spend increasing amounts of time indoors, our small business community will need every bit of support we can muster.

That’s regardless of the form in which it comes, from grant funding, even with strings attached, to continued patronage that is vital to their survival through the end of the pandemic.

Nobody knows when that may come. We hear positive news about steps toward a vaccine, just as we hear the staggering numbers in Europe and news of an expected third surge here in the United States.

It’s mind numbing to watch the daily spread of this virus and to wonder if it will ever end.

But we must stay positive — and we must support one another.

As Commissioner Scott Metzger said, “We want to help as many businesses as possible.”

Yes, Commissioner, we want that too, and anything the county can do to support them is appreciated.

We want our local communities to come out strong on the other side, and the small business community — the mom and pop shops, the favorite dining and entertainment establishments, the small hardware stores and larger local operations of all kinds — is vital to that.

That day when the threat of the spread no longer cripples us cannot come soon enough. Meanwhile, it’s patience, along with masking, hand washing, social distancing and, well, we all know the drill by now.

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