Over 900 businesses selected to receive $12 million in funding

PHILADELPHIA — The City of Philadelphia and PIDC today announced that 914 small businesses have been selected to receive a total of $12 million from the Philadelphia COVID-19 Restaurant and Gym Relief Program (RGRP), which was designed to provide financial relief to small businesses that were among the most adversely affected by the latest round of pandemic-related restrictions enacted by the City in November 2020. This program was made possible through a mid-year transfer of City General Fund dollars by City Council in December 2020.

The businesses that received awards stretch across 59 zip codes across Philadelphia, with 81 percent located in areas outside of Center City. According to self-reported demographic information, over 50 percent of awards went to minority business owners, while one-third  went to woman-owned businesses. The average grant size was $13,200 per business.

“Philadelphia’s small businesses are the backbone of our city’s economy, and restaurants and gyms have been among the businesses that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “These grants will provide a much-needed lifeline to many of them in neighborhoods all across the city. We also encourage hospitality-based businesses to apply for the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP)—a new relief program announced earlier this week.”

RGRP received a total of 1,123 applications; 80 percent were from restaurants and 20 percent were from gyms. Eighty-one percent of applicants were approved for grants. Applications were screened for eligibility and then reviewed based on the program’s priorities, including businesses that: are located in high poverty areas or on neighborhood commercial corridors, are minority-, woman-, or disabled-owned, provide jobs to Philadelphians, or suffered damage in 2020 due to civil unrest.

RGRP is a program distinct from the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP), a program funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and announced on Tuesday, March 9; the CHIRP application will open on Monday, March 15 and be available at PIDCphila.com/CHIRP.

“Small restaurants in our neighborhoods—from West Philly to North Philly, from Kingsessing to Juniata Park and so many places in between—are vital to our city’s economy,” said City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District).  “Council has said all along, as we recover from this pandemic, we cannot go back to the old normal, we need a New Normal, an economy that’s more equitable and inclusive for everybody. These grants to these neighborhood institutions—restaurants and local gyms—are a good step in the right direction.”

“As virus cases were rising rapidly this fall and winter, and it became clear that we would have to close places that were more susceptible to spreading the virus, we worried about the impact on businesses—especially industries like restaurants and gyms,” said Michael Rashid, Philadelphia Commerce Director. “It was critical to act quickly to provide support in a fast, fair and equitable manner, especially for Black- and brown-owned and women-owned businesses, which we know are so numerous in these industries. We’re proud that with this program we’ll be able to provide needed relief to more than 900 restaurants and gyms across Philadelphia so they have the opportunity to stay in business, maintain their payrolls, and get back on their feet as quickly and safely as possible.”

“We are proud of our continued partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Commerce to design and deliver relief programs to support the small businesses in our community who have been hit the hardest over the last year,” said PIDC President Anne Bovaird Nevins. “Our partnership has proven successful at getting the much needed funds into the hands of the hard hit businesses in our communities, and we are committed to bringing more resources to drive Philadelphia’s equitable economy recovery.”

Businesses approved for grants may use the funds as needed to continue operating, including for rent or payroll. However, investments in outdoor winterization, improvements in indoor ventilation, and other COVID-related indoor physical space expenses or personal protective equipment (PPE) purchases are encouraged. Grant recipients must maintain records of their grant expenditures for 12 months.

Once grant agreements are finalized, businesses can expect to receive a check within four to six weeks. A list of grant recipients will be publicly available on www.phila.gov once all businesses have finalized grant agreements.

Additional Resources for Businesses

Businesses are also encouraged to apply for the recently reopened federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs.

The Philadelphia Department of Commerce is updating this page of business resources, financial and otherwise, as they become available.

With the Philadelphia COVID-19 Restaurant and Gym Relief Program and the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program, the City of Philadelphia has directed more than $140 million in government, philanthropic, and private funding to support Philadelphia’s small businesses and nonprofits.