Elaine Schaefer, Christine Reuther, Monica Taylor

Delaware County Councilwoman Elaine Schaefer, center, says many small businesses are “suffering tremendously.” All five council members, including Christine Reuther, left, and Monica Taylor, right, voted for the grant program.

— WHYY photo/Kriston Jae Bethel, file

Delaware County will distribute another $4 million in grants to eligible small businesses that have suffered losses from business interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants are in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s latest coronavirus mitigation efforts, which are in effect from Dec. 12 to Jan. 4. The state’s new rules prohibit indoor dining, limit indoor and outdoor gatherings, and prohibit entertainment venues, gyms and fitness centers from operating.

Businesses in the restaurant, tavern and catering industry may be eligible for up to $40,000, while businesses such as entertainment centers, fitness centers and instructional studios for dance, yoga and martial arts are eligible for a flat subsidy of $5,000.

The county previously offered “Delco Strong” grant programs in May, July and November that distributed over $16 million in CARES Act funding to 1,428 local businesses and 130 local non-profit organizations.

The fourth round of funding, dubbed “Delco Strong: Rapid Response,” was authorized by the Delaware County Council in a unanimous vote Dec. 16.

“Our restaurants, bars, catering businesses, and gyms and fitness centers are suffering tremendously, and the latest mitigation efforts, while necessary in response to the dramatic increase of COVID-19 cases will hurt them even more,” said Delaware County Councilwoman Elaine Schaefer.

“Delco Strong: Rapid Response allows us to continue to support these specific businesses even further. We know this has been crippling to many businesses and we are doing everything we can to help them get back on their feet and help them stay open and keep their staff employed.”

Grants of up to $40,000 will be provided on a sliding scale to full-service restaurant, tavern and catering businesses based on 2019 gross revenue and for those that have modified operations to remain open at a limited capacity during the three-week mitigation.

Businesses such as entertainment centers, fitness centers and instructional studios with annual revenue under $2.5 million are eligible for a flat subsidy of $5,000 to offset overhead for the three weeks.

Previous Delco Strong grantees are eligible and encouraged to apply and new applicants are also eligible to apply. Previous grantees are automatically qualified and do not need to resubmit their documentation, but they must submit an application form.

Applications for grants will be accepted through Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. and can be submitted online through the Delco Strong website at delcostrong.delcopa.org/.

The website has eligibility requirements and instructions for the application process, including hours of operation, deadlines and technical assistance for online applications.

The program is administered by the Delaware County Economic Development Oversight Board.

The latest round of grants raises to over $20 million the total amount distributed to Delaware County businesses and non-profit organizations.

The first round of Delco Strong awarded 790 grants with over $7 million in funding to business owners. Applicants could request up to $7,500, and 770 of the grantees also accepted a “Delco Strong Boost” that awarded additional funds.

The second round of grants awarded $4.3 million to 462 business owners and over $2 million to 73 nonprofit organizations. Businesses were eligible for up to $20,000. Non-profits were eligible for up to $50,000.

The third round awarded $1.7 million to 176 business owners and $769,000 to 30 nonprofit organizations.

Delaware County Council was the first county in the Southeast Region to offer COVID-19 response funding to non-profit organizations. The Foundation for Delaware County assisted in administering and evaluating the applicants for the program.

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