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Philly restaurants and gyms are getting some much-needed, targeted relief from the city. Photos: Getty Images.
Philly restaurants and gyms are getting some much-needed, targeted relief from the city. Photos: Getty Images.

Philadelphia, PIDC have $12 million in COVID-19 relief for restaurants and gyms

Applications for the program will open at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28 and close on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 11:59 p.m.

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After a year where the City of Philadelphia scrambled to get as much relief as it could in a short period of time to small businesses most-affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns, it has partnered with PIDC for a more targeted relief program specifically for restaurants and gyms.

Both have been the most-impacted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with gyms having to remain closed for extended periods of time and restaurants having to downsize menus, shift to primarily takeout, and pour more funds into outdoor seating to accommodate the loss of indoor seating.

As of Jan. 5, gyms in Pennsylvania were allowed to reopen and as of Jan. 15, restaurants in Philadelphia were allowed to reopen for indoor dining, but at a limited capacity.

Even with the lifting of some restrictions, many restaurants AL DÍA has profiled since the beginning of the year have said that the limited capacity and takeout will not be enough without more aid. 

Less restrictions also don’t guarantee that customers will come back, as the fears of contracting COVID-19 in public places are still very high.

The grant relief collaboration between PIDC and the city is worth $12 million. Eligible businesses can receive grants up to $15,000 in support. 

Unlike previous grant programs devised by the city, funds will not be distributed on a first come, first serve basis, but through eligibility.

To be eligible to receive funding, businesses must:

  • Be operating as a: restaurant that has indoor dining; gym; or business whose primary activity is indoor exercise.
  • Be an independently-owned and operated for-profit business or franchise.
  • Occupy a storefront, retail, or commercial space physically located in Philadelphia. 
  • Be operating at time of application or have operated in the last 90 days and intends to be operating again within 90 days.
  • Earn less than $2 million in annual revenue, pre-COVID-19.
  • Report at least a 25% decline in revenue from the 4th quarter of 2020 compared to the 4th quarter of 2019. 
  • Be in compliance 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.
  • Have required federal, state, and local licenses and permits to legally operate.

Funding will also be doled out based on the program’s priorities. Those include, restaurants or gyms located in high poverty areas or on neighborhood commercial corridors, those that are minority-, women-, or disabled-owned, those that provide jobs to Philadelphians, and suffered damage during the 2020 uprisings in the city. 

Per a release from the city on Friday, Jan. 22 about the program, it’s not required to meet these priorities, but those that do, will get preference

“With this funding, we’ll be able to extend a lifeline to small businesses in the most impacted industries—including restaurants and gyms. I want to thank all the businesses that have gone above and beyond to do their part in stopping the spread of the virus,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in the same release.

Philadelphia City Council also played a major role in the program’s formation, with Council President Darrell Clarke joined by Councilmembers Allan Domb, Derek Green, Mark Squilla, Kenyatta Johnson, Cherelle Parker, and María Quiñones-Sánchez, who heads council’s Appropriations Committee.

“Small, neighborhood-based restaurants and gyms have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic,” said Quiñones-Sánchez in a release. “They need assistance quite literally to remain afloat. Their economic footprint is felt throughout our neighborhoods. Jobs provided, taxes paid, amenities and services provided. We cannot and will not let them fail.”

Applications for the program will open on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 11 a.m. and close on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 11:59 p.m. They can be submitted online at phila.gov/RGRP. 

Further questions about the program can be directed to the Department of Commerce’s business service line at 215-683-2100, or through email at [email protected]

The city also provided a list of community partners to help business owners fill out the application.

This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting as brokeinphilly.org.

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