WEST CHESTER (February 11, 2021) – Restaurants, taverns, and other businesses in the hospitality industry that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can soon apply for up to $50,000 in state pandemic relief funding.

Under Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP), $145 million in funding will be allocated to support eligible hospitality industry businesses in alleviating revenue losses and paying eligible operating expenses.

State Senator Carolyn Comitta, who supported and voted for Senate Bill 109 (Act 1 of 2021), the legislation establishing the grant program, said the funding is crucial to supporting small businesses and employees.

“Almost every sector of our economy has been adversely impacted by this pandemic. The hospitality industry – restaurants, bars, caterers, hotels, and more– continue to face significant challenges,” Comitta said. “This funding will help support their operations as we work together to fully recover from and defeat the pandemic by stopping the spread and getting a vaccine to everyone who wants one.”

Grants will be awarded in $5,000 increments with a $50,000 maximum.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, funding will be provided in the form of block grants to each county based on population and will be allocated by February 28.

DCED is not providing funding directly to businesses for this program. 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.

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.

Additional program guidelines are available on the Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) website: https://dced.pa.gov/download/covid-19-hospitality-industry-recovery-program-guidelines-2021/?wpdmdl=105383

“The commonwealth’s hospitality industry is critical to the lives and livelihoods of so many Pennsylvanians, and it’s undeniable that it has been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Wolf. “After months of calling for support for our hospitality establishments and their employees, I am pleased that the General Assembly has allocated millions of dollars in resources to protect and preserve this industry.”

Senate Bill 109 (Act 1 of 2021) unanimously passed the legislature and was quickly signed into law by Wolf last week.

In addition to providing $145 million in grants to the hospitality industry, it allocates:

  • $150 million for nonpublic schools.
  • $47 million for area career and technical schools, intermediate units, and other educational entities.
  • $560 million for rent, utilities, home energy costs, and other housing services.

The bulk of the funds come from the additional round of federal COVID relief funding (the Bipartisan-Bicameral Omnibus COVID Relief Deal) passed in December.