PA to Help Hospitality Businesses with $145M in Relief Funds

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Hospitality businesses ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic can begin applying for relief through a new program designed to keep them afloat, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday.

The COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program would provide eligible businesses with grants of up to $50,000.  All 67 counties were provided with block grant funding. The amount awarded to each county is based on its population. 

Grants will be distributed in $5,000 increments, the governor’s office said Tuesday. 

Each county administers funding through one or more Certified Economic Development Organizations or Community Development Financial Institutions. The organizations must begin accepting applications from businesses by March 15.

“For so many businesses in the hospitality industry, taking the necessary steps that keep employees and patrons safe directly hurts their bottom line,” Wolf said in a statement.  “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. “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.

A business is eligible if:

It has a North American Industry Classification System 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, 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.

Priority will be given to applicants that have not received a loan or grant issued by the state or federal government, were subject to closure by the state’s disaster declaration and can demonstrate one of the following:

A reduction in gross receipts of 50% or more for the period between March 31 and Dec. 31, 2020, in comparison to the same period of 2019.

If the eligible applicant was not in operation during the entire comparison period but was in operation on Feb. 15, a monthly average reduction in gross receipts of 50% or more for the period between March 31and Dec. 31, 2020, in comparison to the period between Jan. 1 before April 1 of that same year.

Businesses with questions or concerns should contact their local county offices, CEDOs or CDFIs for more information.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.