PA announces hospitality relief program

Posted 3/3/21

HONESDALE, PA — The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has announced the allocation of more than $145 million in funding assistance for the industry most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: …

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PA announces hospitality relief program

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HONESDALE, PA — The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has announced the allocation of more than $145 million in funding assistance for the industry most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: the hospitality industry.

The COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) was established through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), which is tasked with providing each county a block grant based on population size. Wayne County’s allocation is $581,733. Counties received these funds on February 28.

Each county that received a block grant was required to contract with a certified economic development organization to accept applications and distribute the money to businesses. The Wayne County Commissioners contracted the Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO).

By Thursday, March 15, WEDCO will receive and consider applications on a rolling basis until funding for grants received by the county has been exhausted, or Tuesday, June 15, whichever comes first. WEDCO can award grants to eligible applicants in increments of $5,000 not to exceed $50,000. 

Upon approving an application, WEDCO will enter into a grant agreement with the eligible applicant. The grant agreement will explain the terms and conditions of the grant, including each applicable law, statute and reporting requirement and can be electronically signed and returned to WEDCO. 

At press time, WEDCO was still developing its application packet, which will be made available no later than Thursday, March 15. WEDCO will issue a press release when the application process begins. Check www.wayneeconomic.com for updates.

DCED noted that grants may not be awarded to pay for the same eligible operating expenses for which an eligible applicant receives or received funding from the federal government. However, a receipt of a loan or grant of past funding received from the federal or state government doesn’t disqualify an applicant from eligibility for a grant under this program. 

An eligible applicant or authorized representative of an applicant to the program must certify to being a non-publicly traded business experiencing a reduction in revenue equating to at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts in any calendar quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of 2019.

If the applicant was in operation all four quarters of 2019, they may also show a reduction in annual receipts of at least 25 percent in 2020 compared to 2019; this must be substantiated by annual federal tax forms.

If not in business during the first or second quarter of 2019, it must show at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts in any calendar quarter of 2020 compared to the third or fourth quarter of 2019. 

If only in business in the fourth quarter of 2019, it must show at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts in any calendar quarter of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. 

If not in business in 2019, but was in business on February 15, 2020, it must show at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts during the second, third or fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2020.

Eligible applicants must have been in business by February 15, 2020 at the latest. They must operate a business in the accommodations subsector that provides accommodations, food, or drink to the public, with or without charge. Another requirement includes having fewer than 300 full-time employees and a maximum tangible net worth of $15 million.

To be eligible for funding, an applicant’s COVID-19 expenses must have been incurred between March 1, 2020 and June 15, 2021. For mortgage, lease agreement and utility costs, each must have been in force before February 15, 2020.

Other requirements include paying state and federal income tax; remaining in operation with no intention to permanently cease operations within one year of the application; having had an adverse economic impact due to COVID-19 that makes the award necessary to support ongoing operations; using the grant to pay for COVID-19-related economic impacts; and not receiving another CHIRP grant prior to applying.

Priority funding will be given to applicants that have not yet received a loan or grant issued under the commonwealth or by the federal government; were subject to closure by the governor’s disaster declaration; or can demonstrate a reduction in gross receipts of 50 percent between March 31, 2020, and December 31, 2020 in comparison to that same period in 2019.

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