Please see below for COVID-19 Resources and Info relevant to Chestnut Hill businesses.  Content from CHBA member emails on this topic will be archived here.

  • Last updated 2/26/21
  • Government Regulations
    • COVID-19 Vaccination Update: Philadelphia residents can now sign up online to reserve their place in line for the vaccine.  “Philadelphia is currently receiving an extremely limited supply of vaccine. The City is making the vaccine available in phases based on a person’s level of risk of Acquiring infection, Transmitting infection to vulnerable person, [and] Suffering severe consequences of infection. Because of this phased schedule, Philadelphia residents will become eligible to receive the vaccine at different times. Residents who complete the City’s vaccine interest form will ensure they will be contacted directly when they become eligible.”
    • New state order from Governor Wolf. Click HERE to view
    • INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC GUIDANCE: Recommendations for different types of businesses and activities are detailed in a separate set of industry-specific guidelines available HERE.”
    • Outdoor Dining specific guidelines from the city

FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES

  • COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) update: The Commerce Department reports: “Only the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) will be taking applications for CHIRP March 15th to June 15th.  Philadelphia has ($17.5 million). Businesses should work with one of the technical assistance agencies, The Enterprise Center, Entrepreneur Works, Woman’s Opportunity Center, or Temple’s Fox School of Small businesses. Temple is offering Free one on one consultant meetings with small businesses. The funds are for restaurants, caterers, bars, hotels industry type businesses NAICS codes 721 or 722 only.  If a business has received PPP funding the use of the funds can not be the same in the CHIRP application.” A news summary can be viewed HERE. We will share application links once they are available.
  • DoorDash Grant Program: “DoorDash in partnership with Accion Opportunity Fund, has initiated a $2M grant program focused on minority-owned restaurants and their Covid-19 related needs – the application period closes on March 2, 2021 at 5pm (PT). Click HERE for a one-page document with some additional information regarding the program.”
  • NEW Funding Source: The PA 30 Day Fund is a new fund that is accepting applications for forgivable loans to small businesses. “Working with other business leaders throughout the Commonwealth, the Fund’s goal is to help save as many Pennsylvania jobs as possible while small businesses await recently approved federal funding.” Businesses owned by PA residents who have been operating for at least one year and who have between 3 and 30 employees are eligible to apply. Visit https://pa30dayfund.com/ to learn more and submit a request.
  • Business Security Camera Program Curtailed: The city’s Commerce Department announced that as a result of budget cuts, it would cease accepting new applications to this program, which provided a 50% reimbursement against the installation costs of qualifying exterior security cameras for small businesses.  We will inform merchants if this program reopens in the future.  If you are in need of exterior security cameras, please be aware that you can still apply to the Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District for its security camera rebate, which is for 12% of project costs.   Email koneill@chestnuthillpa.com for more information.
  • New Grant Program–Pay It Phorward: A local resident informed us about this “Philly-focused monthly grant for small businesses” that his company is now offering, and recommended that Chestnut Hill businesses consider applying.  “[A] grassroots, no-strings-attached, no-red-tape method of getting money into people’s hands as quickly as possible…Pay It Phorward is a monthly peer-to-peer program that aims to provide a small monetary lift to help individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.”  To complete the very simple application and be considered for a one-time award, visit https://www.payitphorward.org/.
  • UpWork Talent Grants Program: Thank you to CHBA member Adina Silberstein of Queenies Pets for sharing this resource.  Upwork is “giving $1 million in talent grants to support businesses working to counter the impact of COVID-19.  The Work Together Talent Grants Program is designed to support projects with missions directly tied to mitigating COVID-19’s devastating impact on individuals, communities, and economies everywhere.” Click HERE to learn more and apply.
  • Apply NOW for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Visit HERE to read the instructions and begin your application.  According to the state “The application will be effective the week you were first unemployed and is not based on the day you submit your PUA application.”  However, as with all financial resources related to the pandemic, we advise that you submit your application as soon as you can.
  • New Tax Guidance Issued on U&O, School Tax, Wage Tax by City’s Revenue Dept: Regarding U&O, if your business is closed by government order and is not being occupied, you will not be assessed for U&O Tax when you file. Landlords of such businesses who collect and remit these taxes for their tenants are required to refund the tenant for the applicable amount. We cannot offer tax advice, but visit https://www.phila.gov/documents/coronavirus-tax-guidance/ to read the City’s guidance on each tax.
  • The City’s Commerce Department would like to remind merchants to periodically check its official COVID-19 page for businesses HERE for a comprehensive list of available resources. 
  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: “Philadelphia county is one of the locations which are now eligible to apply for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). If your Philadelphia business has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration may be able to help and you may be eligible to apply now. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible.” Apply at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
  • Federal Legislation Temporarily Expanding Paid Sick Leave and FMLA Now In Effect: The congressional relief package mentioned in the last couple of updates–now being informally called the Phase II relief package–was passed and signed into law. While the Families First Coronavirus Response Act does a number of things, the most important impact on small businesses is that it guarantees paid sick, family, and medical leave for reasons related to coronavirus to workers at companies with 500 employees or fewer. There is a waiver for the FMLA portion that businesses with under 50 employees can apply for. The costs to the employer for these forms of paid leave will be reimbursed directly and via tax credits. Here is a good summary of the final version of the bill that was signed, who/what is covered, and the requirements for small businesses: https://www.fisherphillips.com/resources-alerts-congress-finalizes-covid-19-coronavirus-response-act. Also remember that if you closed your business and temporarily laid off your employees, they can apply for special unemployment compensation.
  • KIVA (www.phila.gov/programs/kiva/) is a private crowdfunded loan platform which is an official City partner, that offers 0% interest loans to small business owners, and they have increased their maximum loan size to $15,000 as a result of the crisis. Because of the nature of the funding method, these loans can take some time to fully fund, but they are an affordable capital source that is worth considering alongside other options, especially if you have a strong social network who may support and share your lending request.
  • New Grant Program Opened for Childcare/Daycare Providers: The Reinvestment Fund is accepting applications for its new Philadelphia Emergency Fund for Stabilization of Early Education (PEFSEE), which will make grants of up to $20,000 to eligible daycare centers in Philadelphia.  For more information, and to apply, visit https://www.reinvestment.com/pefsee/.
  • Grant Opportunities For Wellness Professionals:
  • New Profit
  • Restaurant Resource
    • CoastApp’s Takeout COVID Project: This group contacted us to share this project that they’ve started to drive customers to restaurants who are offering take-out food and alcohol.  “Takeout COVID helps list out open restaurants that are selling their wine, beer, and food. Restaurants can list themselves for free and the restaurants that we’ve talked to have told us they’ve seen an increase in online orders. Our only goal is to help them get more customers.”  Learn more and get listed at https://coastapp.com/takeoutcovid/phl/.
    • Funds for Outdoor Dining Supplies: The City of Philadelphia advises restaurants in need of funding to purchase outdoor dining supplies (cafe tables, chairs, etc.) to consider applying to the state’s $225 million small business grant program (https://pabusinessgrants.com/).  These grants are open to all eligible small businesses in the Commonwealth.

PENNSYLVANIA UPDATES

  • Pennsylvania Launches COVID-19 Job Hiring Portal: Per State Senator Art Haywood, the PA Department of Labor & Industry has launched a new COVID-19 Job Portal, which “is updated daily so businesses in need are spotlighted and people searching for employment have the latest job information.”  Visit HERE if you need to post a position for your business.
  • New Directory Listing Pennsylvania PPE Suppliers: The state’s Department of Community and Economic Development is hosting a Business-To-Business (B2B) Interchange Directory for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suppliers, including purveyors of N95, surgical, and simple fabric masks.  Visit HERE to find a supplier or request to be added to the list.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

  • Grow With Google Initiative: Thanks to CHBA Board member Yosma Luby for recommending this resource.  “The Grow with Google initiative helps people across the United States grow their skills, careers, and businesses by offering free tools, training, and events.Visit google.com/grow to learn more. Discover tools, tips and resources to help you manage your business remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn how to update critical business information online to keep customers informed, host virtual meetings and events, and access documents from anywhere. We’ll also share the latest resources from Google and other partners to help support small business.  Register now for
  • Free Website Tool: If you don’t yet have an ecommerce presence, Locable is offering a Free “Engage Plan” that allows businesses to “sell products, services and gift cards online in minutes…with an existing website or by itself if you don’t have a website.”  Read more HERE.
  • Temple SBDC Can Be A Resource for PPP Recipients: Temple Small Business Development Center reminded the city’s business districts today that they stand ready to assist not only merchants who are seeking funding, but also those who have been fortunate enough to be approved for PPP loans, which require careful administration and proper record-keeping in order to ensure the valuable forgiveness provision.  Visit HERE to see their services and make an appointment.
  • Other Business Resources–Signage: If your business is anticipating needing signage in advance of reopening, and you need a vendor, the CHBA has used Michael Feehan (mfeehan@comcast.net, 215-290-6929) as a one-stop shop for both printing and signage projects for many years.

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

  • Free Registration to Small Business Day at 2021 Main Street America Virtual Conference. We are pleased to offer our CHBA businesses an opportunity to participate in a free day of professional development at the Main Street Now Conference on Tuesday, April 13. The Conference is offering an education track that day tailored for small business owners— from live, interactive sessions with retail experts to a happy hour with fellow entrepreneurs. All of the sessions will be recorded if you can’t attend on April 13th. Small business owners in Main Street America districts like Chestnut Hill can register for free through March 22nd only. You can learn more about Small Business Day and the content being offered here. To register, you should fill out the registration form on that page and select “Small Business” as your registration type. In the Payment section, enter the Coupon Code SB2180 and hit “apply.” Your registration should then be $0, and you can hit “submit” to complete your registration.
  • Coffee & Commerce Workshop: The Department of Commerce’s Office of Business Services is hosting a Coffee & Commerce Virtual event–Have You Heard? How New Philly Tax Rules Support Your Business–on Wednesday, March 3 from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. This free webinar is an opportunity to ask questions about the new Philly tax rules and understand how it can support your business. Learn more about this event, including how to register, here.
  • PIDC Business Builder Webinars: PIDC continues its series of educational webinars for small business owners. Click HERE to view upcoming topics
  • Small Business Recovery Tips from Former SBA Chief Karen Mills.  Listen to tips in this 13-minute recorded interview HERE

MARKETING

  • New Google Form for CHBA Member Social Media Requests: Staff are processing CHBA member business requests for social media posts on Facebook and Twitter.  Click HERE to submit your requests.
  • Shop Local Marketing Grant Program: Presented by the Chestnut Hill Local.  “The Chestnut Hill Local has established a $100,000 grant program to assist local businesses with marketing during these difficult times. We are committed to supporting our local partners and helping them reach customers and relaunch their businesses. The Shop Local Grant program will be in effect August 1 through October 31, 2020. Locally-owned small businesses can apply for a matching advertising grant. Through these grants, the Local will match up to $100,000 in advertising. The advertising match has a minimum monthly spend, and the match must occur in the same month as the cash spend.  Grants will be awarded monthly, but can renew the following month, through August, October,  for the same amount if the business chooses.”  Click HERE for more information and to apply.
  • “Zoom” from the Chestnut Hill Business District: En Route Marketing is offering these beautiful scenes of Chestnut Hill that you can install as custom Zoom backgrounds, perfect for checking in with colleagues during meetings or hosting virtual happy hours with loved ones and friends. Hold your next meeting outdoors at Pastorius Park or Morris Arboretum, or virtually meet along the Avenue and its boutique shops and restaurants. No matter which background you choose, you can still #KeepItOnTheHill even while you’re at home. View the series of Zoom-ready backgrounds at https://chestnuthillpa.com/media-gallery/chestnut-hill-zoom-backgrounds/. Click HERE for a Zoom tutorial on how to use a custom background.
  • Visit Philly Video: We worked with En Route Marketing on production of a Chestnut Hill destination feature for online release on Visit Philly and NBC10, which can be viewed HERE. The feature already has over 14,000 views, and highlights some of Chestnut Hill’s best attributes as a summertime destination.

GOVERNMENT MESSAGING

  • New Business Tax Payment Plans:  “The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Revenue recently released a new payment plan to support businesses that were in tax compliance before the pandemic struck. Business owners can use this new plan if they: 1) Are struggling to pay business taxes due after March 1, 2020 and 2) Do not owe taxes before that date. The new payment agreement covers all business taxes. It does not require a down payment, and could excuse your business from paying ANY interest or penalties. If eligible, your business will have up to 12 months to pay. If you honor the agreement, you will not accrue any interest or penalties during that time. For more information, email revenue@phila.gov or call (215) 686-6600.If you’re already in a payment agreement, you may be able to renegotiate the terms of your agreement. The Department of Revenue will work with businesses on a case-by-case basis.”
  • Families First Act Posting Requirements: One of our attorneys alerted us that employers are now required to post a notice of rights under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act in a place where it is conspicuous to employees in their business.  The poster can be accessed at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/posters under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act section. An FAQ specific to the notice is available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-poster-questions.

COMMUNITY

  • Chestnut Hill Hospital Seeking Mask Donations: From Cathy Brzozowski at Chestnut Hill Hospital: “Chestnut Hill Hospital is accepting donated masks! If you have facial masks that are not currently being used, the Hospital will accept them. Any type of mask is acceptable including surgical, N95, construction, etc. In addition, if you have some skill and a sewing machine, surgical mask covers are also being used by clinical professionals. See this YouTube video for a pattern that would work well:https://www.cleveland.com/news/2020/03/how-to-help-sew-masks-for-hospital-in-coronavirus-crisis.htmlArrangements to drop off of items can be made by calling  at the number that follows or sending an email. A Hospital representative will meet you in front of the Hospital. Remain in your vehicle and we’ll remove the items. Thank you for your support!” 215-248-8727 | CatherineM.Brzozowski@towerhealth.org
  • Perishable Food Donations: If your food business has excess perishable or prepared food that you are unable to utilize due to decreased customer demand, the local nonprofit Today Is A Good Day has advised us that their partner the Ronald McDonald House is in need and willing to accept them. If you are interested, contact Chris Callanan at chris@philarmh.org or 267-969-6212.
  • Philadelphia Court Update: If you have any pending issues in the local court system, CHBA member Christine Benedum has prepared this Status Update about how proceedings are being impacted by the crisis, which you can review: https://www.benedumlaw.com/coronavirus-and-the-courts/
  • Go Fund Me Night Kitchen Staff Relief Fund HERE
  • PPE Donation Form: The City of Philadelphia now has a form HERE which you can use to make donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers. There is an option to have your donation conveniently picked up if you don’t want to venture out.

SPECIAL MESSAGING

Crime and Safety
  • Crime Reporting Procedures: If your business is the victim of a crime, remember not to delay in calling 911 and reporting it to the Police as soon as possible. This ensures that you receive police assistance when it is required, and results in the incident being catalogued in the 14th District’s crime statistics and mapping, which can affect deployment of police resources. Detailed reports can also help connect a perpetrator to multiple crimes. Once you report the incident to the police, you can contact the CHBA office at 215-247-6696 or inquiry@chestnuthillpa.com to share any descriptions, photos, or footage that you believe may be useful to your fellow merchants.  The CHBA will then issue an alert via email and voice/text messaging to apprise member businesses of the incident.
  • CHBA Crime Notifications: We have received some questions recently about how the CHBA reports information in its crime alerts. Whenever we receive a tip from a business about a crime or suspicious activity, we submit an alert containing that information to the membership at large, generally by email and text message, and sometimes by recorded voice message as well. For the benefit of other businesses, we seek to provide the most detailed description possible of the alleged perpetrator of an incident. On the advice of our legal counsel, we cannot send out mass emails containing photographs or videos of alleged perpetrators unless such images have been released by law enforcement designating someone as “wanted” or a person of interest. Our 14th District officers would also like to take the opportunity to remind merchants to follow through and submit a police report through 911 if they are a victim of a crime, as this creates an important paper trail for perpetrators that may strike again in the same area.
  • City of Philadelphia Mental Health Resources: Click HERE to view resources.
  • Safety Tips: The City’s Commerce Department has asked commercial corridor management organizations to alert their business owners about the safety tips they’ve compiled HERE in order to keep your premises safe during closure.
  • Kilian’s Needs Packing Materials!  From Kilian’s Hardware owner Russ Goudy: “Our internet business is up but our incoming donations of packing materials are down. We are in desperate need of box filling materials such as styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, air filled cushion bags, crumpled paper, etc. We are ok on empty cardboard boxes.” Go green and donate your used packing materials to Kilian’s at their store at 8450 Germantown Avenue  M-F 8:30-5:30, Saturday 8:30-5:00, Sunday 10:00-3:00.
  • Cashier Protection Shield Resources: As businesses begin to plan for reopening in the coming weeks, some may be considering the temporary installation of plexiglass cashier protection shields, similar to those seen in many supermarkets.  While we cannot endorse any particular provider, we can share information about vendors who may be able to help with this need. First, CHBA member business Kilian’s Hardware has indicated that they can help with smaller requests, so walk-in or call them at 215-247-0945 to inquire.  For more extensive installations, Weavers Way Co-op has used Everything Plastic for 1/4″ clear plexiglass panels with rounded corners and beaded edges.  They can be reached at 215-238-9800
  • Printable Social Distancing Posters: The City’s Health Dept. released downloadable and printable social distancing reminders for use by businesses who are still operating. You can access different variations HERE and display them at your facility.
  • Free Small Business Legal Assistance: “In response to office closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia VIP is offering eligible small businesses free one-hour remote legal consultations with a volunteer attorney.  Once your application is approved, VIP will search for an attorney to hear about your business’s legal needs and offer advice and counsel.  After the initial consultation, your business may be eligible to receive ongoing assistance with a discrete legal issue.” Apply HERE.
  • Business Interruption Insurance Claims: This is a topic that we haven’t yet covered in our member updates which some businesses may have already considered or may be wondering about. Nationwide, efforts by small business owners to file claims under their Business Interruption insurance policies for losses due to the pandemic have been largely unsuccessful, prompting various class action lawsuits and legislative efforts.  PA is one of several states in which lawmakers have introduced legislation which would require insurance companies to cover business interruption losses due to the pandemic for insureds who had such policies in place.  The insurance industry contends that such requirements would bankrupt insurers, and is generally opposing all of these efforts.  If you have a Business Interruption policy, you should review the language in it, and reach out to your attorney if you have questions about whether you may have the basis for a claim.
  • Did you miss the CHBA’s 2020 Annual Meeting? Click HERE to view the recording of the virtual meeting, including presentations and Q&A with CHBD Executive Director Philip Dawson and En Route Marketing CEO Bill Gehrman.