Mar. 3—The local hospitality and food service industry can now apply for financial relief through Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program, or CHIRP.
Nearly $1.5 million is available for eligible Cambria County businesses, said the Johnstown Industrial Development Corp.
The funding will be awarded as grants in $5,000 increments, with a $50,000 maximum.
The state provided block grants to each county based on population.
Each county will administer the funding through a certified economic development organization.
For Cambria, Somerset, Bedford and Fulton counties, that's the JIDC, a part of the umbrella organization of Johnstown Area Regional Industries.
JIDC started accepting applications for CHIRP on Tuesday, the organization said in a press release.
"We are very thrilled to be working with JIDC for this program," Cambria County President Commissioner Thomas Chernisky said in a written statement. "It's a great opportunity for businesses in the hospitality industry who have been impacted by COVID to get some of the relief they need."
In Somerset, nearly $832,000 was appropriated by the state for the program, according to JIDC.
Eligible businesses must have a NAICS designation within the accommodation subsector (721) or Food Services and Drinking Places subsector (722).
Other eligibility criteria include having been in operation prior to Feb. 15, 2020, having fewer than 300 full-time equivalent employees and a tangible net worth of not more than $15 million.
"We are working to get as much information out as soon as possible for this program," Somerset County Commissioner Gerald Walker said in a press release. "We will work hand in hand with JIDC to get the money to the businesses that need it most during this time."
The application and additional program information can be found on the JARI website at www.jari.com.