HARRISBURG – To help revive Pennsylvania’s hospitality industry, which has suffered for over a year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Rep. Todd Polinchock (R-Bucks) introduced legislation in partnership with the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA) that would create a grant program for businesses impacted by the resulting shutdown orders.
“Without our help, the hospitality industry will continue to flounder,” Polinchock stated. “Although most restrictions are scheduled to be lifted, the detrimental impacts of prior restrictions will last for years. The industry will need our continued support getting back to the thriving industry it once was, long after restrictions are lifted. These businesses are part of the patchwork of our communities that bring people together and make our towns special.”
The Commonwealth’s hospitality and tourism industry, once a thriving, economic powerhouse, employed just over 550,000 Pennsylvanians making it the second largest industry in the state. But, since the start of the pandemic, the industry has taken a detrimental hit by COVID-19 restrictions that lasted for over 14 months. It now faces significant issues among sales, restoring job loss and rising food, labor and occupancy costs.
House Bill 1487
would add a portion of the $7 billion in federal funds to the County Block Grant – Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) to bring the total funding up to $500 million. The new program would dedicate the federal assistance for COVID-19 relief to grants that would be used to further support restaurants and lodging and expand the program to entities previously denied access to grants.
“We are appreciative of the quick action of the Legislature and administration to dedicate the original $145 million to the industry via the CHIRP program earlier this year, but many operators were not able to receive or were not eligible for grants. Rep. Polinchock’s bill ensures those that need the support to help them recover, receive funds to do so,” said Melissa Bova, vice president of Government Affairs at the PRLA.
“Sadly, we have witnessed some of our communities most beloved hospitality businesses go under due to restrictions even after grants were available,” Polinchock said. “This is unacceptable and cannot continue. My goal is to bring hope back to our communities that have lost a piece of their hometown by supporting the pieces of the industry that are still standing.”
Cosponsors from Bucks County include Reps. KC Tomlinson, Meghan Schroeder, Wendi Thomas, Shelby Labs, Frank Farry and Craig Staats.
The legislation has been referred to the House Commerce Committee for consideration.
Representative Todd Polinchock
144th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rene Morrow