The City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) announced Friday a $12 million grant program with the purpose of helping the city restaurants and gyms affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Philadelphia COVID-19 Restaurant and Gym Relief Program is designed to provide financial relief to small businesses in the city. Grant awards are estimated to be up to $15,000 per business.
According to a WHYY report by Darryl C. Murphy, if approved, businesses 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.
Eligible business owners can apply online at phila.gov/RGRP, beginning at 11 a.m. on Thursday, January 28. The deadline to submit applications is 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9. The online application is simple and is estimated to take approximately 15 minutes to complete. It can be completed on your mobile device or computer. All applications will be reviewed after the deadline has passed.
Applications for the grant program will be awarded based on eligibility and alignment, with program priorities and preference, though not required, will be given to businesses that are located in low-income areas or on neighborhood commercial corridors.
Additional preference will be given to businesses owned by women, people of color or people with disabilities, as well as those who provide jobs to Philadelphians, or suffered damage in 2020 due to civil unrest.
Due to limited funding, eligible businesses must be:
- Operating as a restaurant that has indoor dining
- Operating a gym, or a business whose primary activity is indoor exercise
- Running an independently owned and operated for-profit business or franchise
- Occupying a storefront, retail, or commercial space physically located in Philadelphia
- Operating at time of application or have operated in the last 90 days and intend to be operating again within the next 90 days
- Earning less than $2 million in annual revenue pre-COVID-19
- Reporting at least a 25% decline in revenue from the 4th quarter of 2020 compared to the 4th quarter of 2019
- Complying with all local, state, and federal taxes, or be on an approved payment plan or can prove they are in the process of getting on a payment plan. The Philadelphia Department of Revenue is offering flexible payment plans.
- Possessing federal, state, and local licenses and permits to legally operate
Various community partners can provide free assistance to businesses who may need help completing the application. This includes language translation services, technological support, and other assistance in filling out the application.
Mayor Jim Kenney said about the grant program that “with this funding, we’ll be able to extend a lifeline to small businesses in the most impacted industry, including restaurants and gyms.”
The program was made possible through the latest allocation of funding for small business relief through a mid-year transfer of city general fund dollars in December 2020.