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Second phase opens for COVID relief grants for Centre County hospitality businesses

BELLEFONTE — The second phase of a new COVID-19 relief grant is now open for eligible hospitality industry businesses in Centre County, and the Centre County Commissioners are announcing that most of their funds have been awarded.

During the now-closed first phase of the Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP), 67 businesses in the county were awarded $1,455,000. This leaves $384,232 to be allocated for businesses in the county before the program closes by June 15.

County Commissioner Michael Pipe said they are pleased with the number of businesses that applied and encourage others to apply quickly before the funds are gone.

“This has been another successful round of funding that is going directly to hurting businesses. The funds are going quickly, which shows tremendous need. At this rate, the grants will be awarded before June 15, so we encourage additional hospitality businesses to apply quickly,” Pipe said.

Grants range from $5,000 to $50,000 to help alleviate 2020 revenue losses and pay for eligible operating expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For-profit hospitality businesses can apply at the Community Giving Foundation’s website at https://csgiving.org/chirp/

Eligible hospitality industry businesses must be for-profit businesses which include hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, restaurants, bars, taverns, catering companies, and food trucks. These businesses must fall within eligible industry codes which include the Accommodations subsector NAICS code (721) or Food Services and Drinking Places subsector (722) found here: https://www.naics.com/search/

Eligibility includes, but is not limited to, having fewer than 300 full-time employees; a net worth that does not exceed $15 million; a 25% reduction in gross receipts in 2020 compared to 2019; and be located within Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, or Union counties.

Priority will be given to businesses that did not already receive COVID relief funds; that were subject to closure following the disaster emergency declared by Gov. Tom Wolf on March 6, 2020; or had more than a 50% reduction in gross receipts from March 31, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. For a full listing of eligibility requirements and prioritization guidelines, visit www.csgiving.org/chirp

The county contracted with SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) to manage the CHIRP grant on its behalf. SEDA-COG will receive the applications, determine eligibility for grant amounts, and disburse the funds to qualifying businesses.

The grant program was created from the law Act 1 of 2021, which was passed Feb. 5, 2021. Statewide, it provides $145 million in funding assistance to the hospitality industry businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, contact SEDA-COG Grants Manager Betsy Lockwood at 570-522-7265 or elockwood@seda-cog.org.

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