Gyms and Restaurants Can Apply for COVID-19 Relief Through This City Program

The application is open until February 9th, and eligible business applications will not be reviewed until after the final deadline.

Empty shop in residential historic building

Local restaurants, gyms, and indoor exercise businesses in Philly can apply for COVID-19 relief grants from the city. | Photo by Kolderal for Getty

This year, Philadelphia, like most of the rest of the country, has seen its small businesses battered by necessary restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. With little federal government help and no other lifelines in sight, many have had to shutter entirely. Others are still attempting to innovate and pivot to stay in business and adjust to a new normal — for gyms, that means virtual offerings as well as masked and socially distanced in-person and outdoor classes.

As the effects of the pandemic are still in full force, a new city program aims to offer some small relief to our local businesses. Up until the deadline of Tuesday, February 9th, eligible restaurants and local gyms can apply for grants (rather than loans) through a new city program from the Philadelphia Department of Commerce and PIDC. The program focuses in on struggling small, local restaurants with indoor dining, gyms, and businesses whose primary activity is indoor exercise.

The Philadelphia COVID-19 Restaurant and Gym Relief Program is a $12 million grant program “designed to provide financial relief to small businesses located in Philadelphia that have been among the most adversely affected by the latest round of pandemic-related restrictions enacted in November 2020.”

Stipulations include that the businesses must be a small business or franchise which earns less than $2 million in annual revenue, pre-COVID-19, and that they must report at least a 25 percent decline in revenue from the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. There will also be priority 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.”

Notably, the program is not first-come, first-served — applications will not be reviewed until after the final deadline when all are submitted. Grant awards are estimated to be up to $15,000 per business. The full list of eligibility requirements, and the application, can be found here.

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