After 15 months, the City relaxed its final COVID-19 restrictions and fully reopened Philadelphia.
After several months of declining cases and increases in vaccinations, the City announced that COVID-19 restrictions would be relaxed beginning May 21, with Philadelphia fully reopening on June 2, 2021.
The City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, in partnership with Councilmembers Katherine Gilmore Richardson and Isaiah Thomas, announced the launch the $1 million Illuminate the Arts Grant to support Philadelphia’s individual artists, small and mid-size nonprofit arts organizations, and small creative enterprises severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City and PHDC announced Phase 4 of the COVID-19 Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program for landlords and tenants. Previous phases did not include utilities, only rent. The City estimates the program will be able to help between 15,000-20,000 tenants.
The City and PIDC announced that a total of 914 small businesses have been selected to receive $12 million from the Philadelphia COVID-19 Restaurant and Gym Relief Program, with over 50 percent going to minority-owned businesses and more than one-third going to women-owned businesses.
The City and PIDC announced a new $17 million grant program as part of the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP)—a $145 million statewide fund created by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to alleviate revenue losses and pay eligible operating expenses for certain businesses in the hard-hit hospitality industry.
The Department of Commerce's Office of Business Services launched virtual one-on-one business support sessions to help businesses plan, launch, manage, and grow. Business Services Managers are available every second and fourth Monday each month from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The City, along with its workforce and economic development partners Philadelphia Works and PIDC, announced a renewed commitment to advance equitable workforce development opportunities and align resources to lift Philadelphians out of poverty, including a $1 million investment in innovative workforce solutions that address workforce challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and exacerbated by long-standing racial injustice.
The City and PIDC announced the Philadelphia COVID-19 Restaurant and Gym Relief Program, a $12 million grant program designed to provide financial relief to small businesses that were among the most adversely affected by the latest round of pandemic-related restrictions enacted in November 2020.
The Kenney Administration and Philadelphia City Council announced a new commitment of $7 million dollars in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to aid small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding was directed to the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program to support additional Philadelphia businesses. This is in addition to the $30 million the City previously directed to the program (see November 24 and September 12 updates).
To further support the city’s small businesses and entrepreneurial community, the Department of Commerce launched a new resource tool that helps connect local business owners and entrepreneurs with organizations that offer guidance on starting, running, and growing a business. On the Business Resource Finder, users can search for free or low-cost services available to Philadelphia businesses, including funding opportunities, legal assistance, workshops, and more.
The City and City Council announced the Phase 3 of the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, PHLRentAssist, with a new commitment of $20 million dollars funded by the Federal CARES Act to provide rental assistance for tenants who were eligible and applied for Phase 2, but their landlord did not respond. This new funding helped the City serve an estimated additional 4,000 households in need and facing housing insecurity.
The Kenney Administration and Philadelphia City Council announced a new commitment of $30 million dollars in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to aid renters and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty million dollars were committed to the PHLRentAssist program, while ten million dollars were directed to the the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program to support additional Philadelphia businesses.
The City launched the Philadelphia Taking Care of Business (PHL TCB) Clean Corridors Program, a $7 million economic development initiative that expands the Department of Commerce’s existing commercial corridor cleaning efforts from 49 commercial corridors to 85 throughout the city. PHL TCB invests in people and small businesses by creating employment opportunities for residents and keeping Philadelphia’s neighborhood commercial corridors clean.
The City released new outdoor dining guidelines for restaurants in order to be properly prepared to offer outdoor dining through the colder months. The guidelines, which include shelter and heating specifications, provide businesses with as much flexibility as possible, consistent with the Philadelphia Fire Code and current COVID-19 safety measures.
The City announced that it would allocate an additional $20 million dollars for grants to help Philadelphia’s small businesses weather the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding comes from the federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) that the City received from the U.S. Treasury. This $20 million from the CRF will be directed to the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program to support additional Philadelphia businesses.
The City presented to Philadelphia City Council on the City's recovery efforts and spending.
The City announced a $1 million Call for Ideas seeking proposals that identify innovative, evidence-informed workforce solutions that include employer commitments to interview and/or hire individuals who successfully complete workforce training. Proposals seeking funding had to clearly identify how funding would be used to address workforce challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or exacerbated by long-standing racial injustice. The City plans to announce the awardees in early 2021.
The City released a report on how it will drive inclusive economic recovery in Philadelphia.
The City’s Office of Homeless Services (OHS) is awarded nearly $4.2 million in State CARES Emergency Solutions Grant, or “ESG,” funds for homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, human services and legal assistance.
The City launched relaunched the emergency rental assistance program. The first round helped 4,000 Philly renters. This time, the goal is 6,300 people.
The Restart PHL Loan Fund, created by PIDC, launches. It provides flexible loans of $25,000 to $250,000 to help small businesses reopen and/or adapt business models to new conditions and opportunities as a result of COVID-19. The program is focused on helping historically disadvantaged businesses and businesses located in high-poverty and low- to moderate-income areas.
The Department of Commerce announced details of a partnership with North Broad Renaissance (NBR) to support local businesses with reopening.
The City announced an expanded outdoor dining initiative, which has enabled hundreds of restaurants across Philadelphia to earn much-needed revenue by offering outdoor dining, safely. The initiative includes four new options for restaurants to operate outdoor dining.
The City announced it will provide rental assistance payments to 4,000 households through its COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
The PHL COVID-19 Fund has raised $17 million. 468 non-profit organizations are using these funds to keep residents fed, healthy, and in their homes.
The Mayor sent a letter to Governor Wolf advocating for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Daryl Hall, Questlove, and Patti LaBelle headlined PHL Love, a variety show fundraiser benefiting the PHL COVID-19 Fund. The concert raised $1.5 million for non-profit organizations.
The City launched the COVID-19 Recovery Office to ensure Philadelphia is well-positioned to take advantage of state and federal resources.
The Mayor sent a memo to Philadelphia’s delegates in Harrisburg, advocating for the City’s priorities for Coronavirus Relief Funding.
The Mayor requested assistance from Governor Wolf on COVID-19 testing.
The City launched an emergency rental assistance program expected to keep at least 3,000 families in their homes.
The City and PIDC announced that 1,145 small businesses were awarded a total of $9.2 million in the first round of the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund.
The Mayor wrote to President Trump, strongly urging that the “Interim Supplemental” under negotiation with Congress include emergency fiscal assistance to cities, to prevent cuts to crucial services.
Along with Mayors from across the country, Mayor Kenney wrote to Speaker Pelosi requesting assistance for the Arts, including individuals impacted by COVID-19, and businesses in the Arts suffering from the pandemic.
Mayor Kenney wrote to Vice President Pence requesting Federal aid for COVID-19 testing.
The Mayor wrote to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to advocate for Federal assistance that would meet the needs of Philadelphia residents.
Philadelphia’s Stay at Home Order goes into effect.
The City and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) launched the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund, a $13.3 million grant and loan program designed to support Philadelphia small businesses, help maintain payroll obligations, and preserve jobs impacted by the spread of the virus.
The City partnered with the Philadelphia Foundation and United Way to announce the PHL COVID-19 Fund. Government, philanthropy, and business came together to aid non-profits organizations providing critical resources and support.