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January 22, 2021

Philly unveils $12 million COVID-19 relief program for restaurants, gyms

Funds can be used to cover rent, payroll or investments in building modifications

Government COVID-19
Philly Restaurant Gym Relief Courtesy of/Tria

The $12 million Philadelphia COVID-19 Restaurant and Gym Relief Program will provide eligible small businesses with grants of up to $15,000, which can be used for investments in outdoor winterization. Pictured above is a streetery set up by Philadelphia wine bar Tria on Sansom Street in Center City.

Philadelphia restaurants and gyms soon will have access to a new COVID-19 relief program that aims to support small businesses impacted by the city's mitigation restrictions that ran from November until mid-January.

The $12 million relief program is providing rants of up to $15,000 to gyms and restaurants. City officials said the program was created in partnership with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., the funding comes from a mid-year transfer of general fund dollars in December.

"As we’ve seen for nearly a year, the impact of COVID-19 is not just a public health crisis, but an economic crisis as well, and Philadelphia’s small businesses have been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic," Mayor Jim Kenney said. "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."

Businesses can apply for the grants beginning 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, and until Feb. 9. Determination of grants will be based on eligibility and alignment with program priorities.

The grants money can be used to cover operating costs, including rent and payroll. The grants also may be used for personal protective equipment purchases, investments in outdoor winterization, improvements to indoor ventilation and other COVID-related indoor physical space expenses.

Due to limited funding, eligible businesses must meet the follow criteria:

• Be operating as a restaurant that has indoor dining or as a 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 the time of application or have operated in the last 90 days with the intention 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, be on an approved payment plan or able to prove they are in the process of getting on a payment plan. The Philadelphia Department of Revenue is offering flexible payment plans.
• Have required federal, state and local licenses and permits to legally operate

To apply, business owners should gather the following information:

• Type and structure of business
• Employer identification number, social security number, or individual taxpayer identification number of the business owner
• Business income and receipts tax account number from the city
• Annual and quarterly revenue figures from 2019 and 2020
• The number of full-time and part-time employees, pre-COVID and currently
• Photos of the exterior and interior of the business
• If applicable, details about any damage incurred during civil unrest in 2020, including photos of all damage reported and/or a report from the Philadelphia Police Department
• A completed and signed W-9 in PDF format. 

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. These organizations can apply on businesses’ behalf, with documented consent.

Questions about the Philadelphia COVID-19 Restaurant and Gym Relief Program should be directed to the Department of Commerce’s Business Services hotline, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (215) 683-2100. Email inquiries can be sent to