Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

New program offers grants to area’s devastated hospitality industry

In March 2020, most area restaurants closed for extended periods and many still have not fully recovered.

A new grant program is targeting one of the hardest-hit sectors of the local economy—our area’s large hospitality industry.

Starting on March 15, hospitality-related businesses can apply for the statewide COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP), which offers financial help for hotels, restaurants and bars.

The program offers grants of up to $50,000. To be eligible, businesses must have fewer than 300 employees and a tangible net worth less than $15 million.

“There are so many Dauphin County businesses that have endured closures, capacity crunches, and staff lay-offs during this unprecedented pandemic,” Commission Chair Jeff Haste said. “These funds will serve as much-needed lifelines.”

Recently, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the $145 million program throughout Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Dauphin County’s portion is $3.1 million, and Perry County has been allotted just over $500,000.

A business is eligible if it:

  • Has a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) designation within the Accommodation subsector (721) or Food Services and Drinking Places subsector (722) and where accommodations, food or drink is served to or provided for the public, with or without charge.
  • Has fewer than 300 full-time equivalent employees.
  • Has a maximum tangible net worth of not more than $15 million.
  • Was in operation on Feb. 15, 2020 and remains in operation and does not intend to permanently cease operations within one year of the date of application.
  • COVID-19 has had an adverse economic impact on the eligible applicant that makes the grant request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the eligible applicant.

Grants are being administered through Certified Economic Development Organizations, which, in our area, includes the Capital Region Economic Development Organization (CREDC).

Joe Massaro, general manager of the Hilton Harrisburg, emphasized the need for this program, saying that hotels have experienced a 78% drop in business since the COVID-19 pandemic began almost a year ago.

“The CHIRP program will provide much-needed relief to devastated hospitality industry businesses in Dauphin County,” Massaro said.

CREDC plans to hold a webinar on March 11 to offer details about the program and how to apply. To register, visit

For more information for Dauphin County businesses:  

For more information for Perry County businesses:


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