Philadelphia announces Restaurant and Gym Relief Program for small businesses affected by COVID restrictions

City officials say the program is not first-come, first-served.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia announced Friday the Philadelphia COVID-19 Restaurant and Gym Relief Program, a $12 million grant program designed to provide financial relief to small businesses that have been affected by the most recent restrictions.

On Nov. 20, the city banned indoor dining from restaurants, closed gyms, and reduced capacity at retail stores to five people per 1,000 square feet. Gyms were allowed to reopen on Jan. 4; indoor dining resumed on Jan. 16.

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Indoor dining will resume at Philadelphia restaurants after the city lifted a nearly two month ban due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The city says the new 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 Dec. 2020."

The online application for the program will open at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28. Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9.

The application will be available at

All applications will be reviewed after February 9.

Officials say the program is not first-come, first-served; applications will be awarded based on eligibility and alignment with program priorities. Grant awards are estimated to be up to $15,000 per business.

"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 a statement. "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."

While not required, officials said, priority will be given to businesses that are "located in high poverty areas or on neighborhood commercial corridors, are minority-, woman-, or disabled-owned, provide jobs to Philadelphians, or suffered damage in 2020 due to civil unrest."

Here is more information from the City of Philadelphia's statement:

What Businesses are Eligible

Due to limited funding, eligible 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 percent 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.

What Businesses Will Need to Apply

Business owners should gather the following information before applying:
  • Basic information, such as:

- Type and structure of business.
- Employer Identification Number (EIN), social security number, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) of business owner.
- Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) account number from the City of Philadelphia.
- Annual and quarterly revenue from 2019 and 2020.
- Number of full-time and part-time employees, pre-COVID and currently.
  • Photo(s) of your business, exterior and interior.

  • 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.

Application Assistance

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.

Flyers describing the program, and how businesses can receive assistance applying, are available in multiple languages here.

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.:

  • Phone: 215-683-2100

What Funds May Be Used For

If approved for a grant, 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.

Additional Resources for Businesses

Businesses are also encouraged to apply for the recently reopened federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs.

The Philadelphia Department of Commerce is updating this page of business resources, financial and otherwise, as they become available.

With this latest program, despite the pandemic's severe impact on the City's budget, the City of Philadelphia has directed more than $120 million in government, philanthropic, and private funding to support Philadelphia's small businesses and nonprofits.
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