An additional 64 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health today.
“One of the very best measures of how many people have a disease is the percentage of the positive tests we receive. For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, only 3 percent of the tests received were positive,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.
Dr. Thomas Farley reports that the number of people getting tested continues to rise and the number of new cases is continuing to drop. “These are both key metrics that we’re watching closely to make sure that we can reopen with care.”
The state’s new Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Recovery Crisis Program helps residents offset costs for home utilities including electricity. The maximum benefit is $800. Residents can apply online until the deadline on August 31 if they meet the eligibility criteria, which includes but is not limited to:
- Households with income at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
- Households at risk of utility shut-offs or that would face shut-off if not for current moratorium.
- Households that previously received a LIHEAP payment during the regular 2019-2020 season.
The City of Philadelphia and its partners are preparing an approach to economic recovery that focuses our programs and systems to be more inclusive, including targeted investments to support people of color and communities that have experienced disinvestment. The City, led by the Department of Commerce and in collaboration with external economic and workforce development partners, uses a four-part framework for economic recovery:
- Respond: Deliver resources to the most vulnerable businesses and communities and maximize opportunities to sustain employment. Provide immediate relief to entrepreneurs and employers in a transparent and efficient way.
- Restart: Build confidence in the market to drive demand and support businesses seeking to adapt to new conditions. Provide clear, actionable guidance, and critical resources to entrepreneurs, employers, and dislocated workers during the reopening process.
- Recharge: Regain the momentum we lost by positioning entrepreneurs, employers, and our workforce for growth. Identify and develop new opportunities to drive local business demand and build greater resilience among our most vulnerable businesses and communities.
- Reimagine: Seize bold opportunities that may have never seemed possible, amplifying our strengths, and ensuring equitable growth for the future. Re-imagine and reinvent the industries and jobs of the future in ways that increase access and opportunity for all.
The City’s two main economic recovery initiatives will be focused on creating more targeted opportunities for economic mobility and well being, fostering the creation of quality jobs, enhancing vibrant neighborhood commercial corridors, and capitalizing on Philadelphia’s natural assets and strengths.
- Equitable Entrepreneurship Assessment and Strategy: The City will focus its resources on the most vulnerable business owners and entrepreneurs. United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, the City of Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) are partnering on a comprehensive assessment of the existing local entrepreneurial landscape. The findings will help develop actionable recommendations to increase effectiveness, fill gaps, and address opportunities for further investment, with a specific focus on resources available to diverse business owners—including people of color, immigrants, and women—who have traditionally been underrepresented in the business community. The initial phase of work will include an impact assessment and immediate recommendations addressing the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses in Philadelphia and recommendations for recovery.
- Workforce COVID-19 Response and Recharge Plan: Philadelphia Works and the City of Philadelphia, in collaboration with employers, economic development, education, and workforce partners, are developing actionable plans, both short- and long-term, to address the crisis of unemployment caused by COVID-19, with a strategic focus on its disproportionate impact on residents of color. The collaborative process will help ensure an inclusive pipeline of local talent is equipped with the skills employees need to compete in a post-COVID economy.
In addition to these strategies for long-term economic recovery, the City also recently announced two new funding options for businesses that have been impacted by successive crises—the COVID-19 pandemic and recent civil unrest. The new efforts include:
- $1.4 million in initial funding for the Restore and Reopen Program. The new grant program is dedicated to helping businesses in historically disadvantaged communities that experienced damage or inventory loss from the recent civil unrest. The Commerce Department is partnering with the Merchants Fund, who will administer the program, and is actively seeking to raise additional funds. Application guidelines will be posted here and circulated to community partners once available.
- $3 million Restart PHL Loan Fund. Created by PIDC, this program provides flexible low-cost capital to small businesses with less than $5 million in revenue for costs associated with improved business resilience or growth. The fund is targeted to historically disadvantaged communities with a specific focus on Black- and Brown-owned businesses located on commercial corridors in low-income areas. The loan application will be released along with additional program details later this month.