Soon after the COVID-19 shutdown the R&R Task Force conducted an online survey to better understand the threats and opportunities facing local small businesses in the Greater Hazleton Area* due to the pandemic. It was intended to better understand local business' ability to withstand what may be several months of suppressed revenue and what kinds of support initiatives and recovery programs may have the most impact. (*) For the purposes of this survey a Small Business is defined as those with less than 100 employees, including non-profit organizations. The Greater Hazleton Area is defined by the boundaries of the Hazleton Area School District.


The 25-question survey was open from April 20 to April 30, 2020. Eighty small business owners responded, of which 91% of respondents reported owning businesses with fewer than 20 employees, and 65% of respondents having been in business longer than 10 years. Thus, findings from this survey highlight the profound impact of the current crisis on the smallest, long-standing, locally-owned businesses that are the backbone of the Greater Hazleton community.

Half of all respondents have laid off employees, with 30% stating that they closed their business, at least temporarily. More than 87% of those with a storefront presence have suspended their operations. More than 70% responded that their revenue has decreased by more than half of what it was prior to the pandemic.

Most significantly, nearly 69% of respondents reported that their business will be at risk of closing permanently within six months if disruptions continue at the current rate without financial assistance.

Realizing this risk, more than 78% of respondents stated that they have applied for financial assistance. Most have applied for the Small Business Administration’s two widely-promoted loan programs: the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). However, not all businesses received the assistance they requested due to limited funding.

The survey finds that business owners primarily need financial assistance with their expenses (rent, mortgage, utilities), to get them through this period. They are also most concerned about losing future work, as well as customer safety, employee safety, and their employee’s financial welfare.

For more information regarding the Survey, Campaign, or MiniGrant program guidelines, please contact: 

Mary Malone, President, Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce: 570-455-1509 x 101

Krista Schneider, Executive Director, Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress: 570-455-1509 x 109

Joe Yannuzzi, Executive Director, Greater Hazleton Civic Partnership: 570-455-1509 x 110

Hazleton Area Small Business Emergency Relief Microgrant Program

In effort to provide emergency relief to local businesses, the R&R Task Force launched the Hazleton Area Small Business Emergency Relief Microgrant Crowdfunding Campaign with a goal of $50,000 to be dedicated towards a MicroGrant program for local, small business relief.

Task Force Members

Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress

Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce

Greater Hazleton CAN DO/CAN BE

Penn State Hazleton LaunchBox

Discover NEPA

Wilkes University Small Business Development Center

PA CareerLink-Hazleton

Luzerne/Schuykill Workforce Development Board

The City of Hazleton, Community and Economic Development

The Greater Hazleton Civic Partnership

Society of Hispanic Professionals of the Hazleton Area

​The Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress is proud to help lead the Greater Hazleton COVID-19 Recovery & Resiliency Task Force, a sub-committee of the Greater Hazleton COVID-19 Task Force spearheaded by the Chamber.

We are working with local economic and workforce development partners, educational institutions, and representatives from other organizations and local businesses to help coordinate small businesses recovery efforts and identify new initiatives and programs that will help them rebound. See below links for more information.