PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Allegheny County businesses in the hospitality industry like restaurants and bars that were hit hard by the pandemic can soon apply for grants.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says the Hospitality Industry Recovery Program will start accepting applications at noon on March 15. Businesses can check eligibility and apply here.

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“The hospitality industry is that sector of our economy which has probably been hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Fitzgerald in a statement.

“Thanks to the efforts by the state legislature to provide this funding, we will be able to provide financial grants to small businesses in the county with operations most impacted by COVID-19. With the application period opening next week, we encourage business owners who are eligible to spend this time gathering the necessary information and documentation to submit their application.”

Pennsylvania made available more than $145 million in grants from the Workers Compensation Security Fund to the general fund for struggling small businesses. The money was transferred to all 67 Pennsylvania counties and the amount is based on population.

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The grants range from $5,000 to $50,000 for businesses in the hospitality industry.

Priority is being given to businesses that have not received funding through the Paycheck Protection Program. These businesses would have closed under Governor Tom Wolf’s disaster declaration and have lost more than 50 percent of business between March 31, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020.

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Guidelines on the program can be found here.