The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) and the County of Berks are excited to launch the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) aimed at aiding businesses in NAICS subsector 721 (Accommodations) and 722 (Food Service and Drinking Places). The program will make $4,770,257 available to Berks County hospitality businesses to alleviate revenue losses and pay eligible operating expenses.
CHIRP grants will be awarded in increments of $5,000 not to exceed $50,000 per eligible applicant based upon eligible operating expenses and annual revenues. The initial application period begins at 12 p.m., Monday, March 15, 2021. The initial application period ends at 5 p.m., Monday, April 5, 2021. Should all the grant funds not be committed in the initial application phase, the online application will reopen at noon, April 26, 2021. An eligible business may only apply once for the program.
“As most of us know, the hospitality sector has been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. GRCA is proud to facilitate this important program that will aid those businesses in most need of resources,” said Jim Gerlach, President and CEO, GRCA.
Last fall, GRCA and the County of Berks partnered to create the Rebuild Berks campaign that helped allocate $11.2 million from the County’s CARES Act funds to assist 473 small businesses in Berks. The CHIRP program will now be another opportunity to provide relief for the local economy.
“The County is grateful to once again partner with GRCA to help get critical funds out to our local businesses,” Berks County Commissioner Michael Rivera said. “Our hospitality industry is a large part of what makes Berks County thrive, and after the past year of so many uncertainties, these grants will provide the boost they need to get back on their feet.”
Those parties interested in learning more about the program may tune in at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 10 for a live information session on the County of Berks Facebook page or BCTV. Representatives from GRCA and the County of Berks will be on hand to introduce the program and answer questions, which may be submitted in the comments section on Facebook.
Eligibility requirements, Frequently Asked Questions, a “how to apply” checklist and the online application may be found at www.rebuildberks.com/funding. All resources and the official application will be made available in both English and Spanish. Those with additional questions related to the program may email them to [email protected] or call 610-898-7782. For technical assistance with an application please contact the Kutztown University SBDC at 484-646-5957. Bilingual assistance is provided through the Berks County Latino Chamber of Commerce at 610-451-3239.