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Centre County Hospitality Businesses To Receive $1.8 Million In Relief Funding

State and county officials like Steve D'Ettorre (left) and Mark Higgins (right) gathered Wednesday to highlight relief funding that will help local businesses recover from the pandemic.
Matt DiSanto

State officials traveled to State College Wednesday to highlight relief funding that aims to help businesses get back on their feet as the pandemic subsides.

Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) will distribute $1.8 million to 86 Centre County businesses this summer. The average grant is worth about $21,000.

Nearly 110 businesses applied for grants over a three-month span this spring. To qualify for the funding, each needed to experience at least a 25% revenue loss throughout the pandemic.

Steve D’Ettorre, deputy secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development, said relief funding plays a critical role in helping communities bounce back from hardships.

“CHIRP funding serves as a crucial lifeline for businesses within Pennsylvania’s restaurant and hospitality industry, which we know was devastated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” D’Ettorre said. “This assistance couldn’t be timelier as the commonwealth forges ahead in recovery.”

Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins also spoke at Wednesday’s event and praised the relief funding. However, he says community support is also necessary for regional recovery.

“These county investments would not matter if you don’t support your local businesses,” Higgins said.

Officials gathered at State College's ReFarm Café to deliver the news. The farm-to-table restaurant received a $30,000 grant through the program.

ReFarm chef and manager Duke Gastiger said supporting the hospitality industry is an important part of boosting local economies.

“We are the gateway to growing careers, whether it’s in the restaurant business or anything else,” he said.

In total, CHIRP will disperse $145 million to Pennsylvania’s hospitality industry. Funding must be provided to businesses by July 15.

Centre County previously provided $5.5 million in grants to more than 400 businesses last fall through Pennsylvania’s share of the federal CARES act funds.

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