$145 Million in Relief Available for PA Hospitality Industry by March 15
The hospitality industry will soon be able to apply for immediate relief through the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP), a new grant program established by the Wolf Administration to support local businesses in the hospitality industry that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For so many businesses in the hospitality industry, taking the necessary steps that keep employees and patrons safe directly hurts their bottom line. After all the hardships businesses have endured, and all of the work they have done to keep their communities safer, they need and deserve our help,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “The COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program will provide immediate relief to these businesses and I urge them to apply as soon as the program opens in their county.”
In December, the governor initiated a transfer of $145 million to be appropriated by the state legislature into grants for businesses. The legislature approved the measure unanimously and it was enacted in February.
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) acted swiftly to open the application to all 67 counties, all of which immediately applied. Funding was provided in the form of block grants to each county based on population. Grants will be awarded in $5,000 increments with a $50,000 maximum.
“Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a threat to our health, our safety, our physical, emotional, and financial well-being. Our small businesses, particularly those in the hospitality industry, have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “This program was designed to provide the critical help this industry needs, and over the next couple of weeks, counties will get this money into the hands of Pennsylvania’s small business owners. From conception to execution, the CHIRP program can best be described—as the governor likes to say—as Government That Works.”
Each county will administer the funding through one or more designated Certified Economic Development Organization (CEDO) or Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), which will then process applications from businesses in each county. CEDOs or CDFIs must begin accepting applications from businesses by March 15.
Program guidelines are available on DCED’s website.
A business is eligible if:
- It has a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) designation within the Accommodation subsector (721) or Food Services and Drinking Places subsector (722) and where accommodations, food or drink is served to or provided for the public, with or without charge;
- It has fewer than 300 full-time equivalent employees;
- It has a maximum tangible net worth of not more than $15 million;
- It was in operation on February 15, 2020 and remains in operation and does not intend to permanently cease operations within one year of the date of application;
- COVID-19 has had an adverse economic impact on the eligible applicant which makes the grant request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the eligible applicant.
Priority will be given to applicants that:
- Have not received a loan or grant issued under the authority of the commonwealth or the commonwealth’s political subdivisions or by the federal government;
- Were subject to closure by the Governor’s disaster declaration; or
- Can demonstrate one of the following:
- A reduction in gross receipts of 50 percent or more for the period beginning after March 31, 2020, and ending before December 31, 2020, in comparison to the period beginning after March 31, 2019, and ending before December 31, 2019.
- If the eligible applicant was not in operation during the entire comparison period, but was in operation on February 15, 2020, a monthly average reduction in gross receipts of 50 percent or more for the period beginning after March 31, 2020, and ending before December 31, 2020, in comparison to the period beginning after January 1, 2020, and ending before April 1, 2020.