ATLANTA — Georgia’s hospitality industry will receive by far the largest portion of more than $415 million in federal pandemic relief grants announced by Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday.
The Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association (GHLA) will receive $150 million to help offset losses suffered by hotels across the state during the pandemic.
The GHLA is among 33 Georgia recipients of federal aid through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) President Joe Biden signed into law in March last year.
The recipients were approved by one of three committees Kemp formed last summer to determine how to distribute Georgia’s $4.8 billion share of ARPA assistance among state and local governments, businesses and non-profit organizations requesting the money.
The Economic Adverse Impact Committee included Pat Wilson, Commissioner of the State Department of Economic Development; state economist Jeffrey Dorfman; Georgia House Appropriations Committee Chair, Terry England, R-Auburn; and state Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia.
“I’m proud of the resilience of our state,” Kemp said Monday. “We have been working hard and identifying ways to provide additional assistance to hard-working Georgians, support businesses and accelerate the recovery of affected industries and rebuild essential public services.”
As business and vacation travel begin to rebound, COVID-19 has hit the hospitality industry harder than most.
“This program will provide Georgia’s hospitality industry with the support it needs to create and sustain jobs for people across the state, helping the industry return to its pre-pandemic level of success,” said GHLA Executive Director Jim Sprouse said Monday.
Other grant recipients announced Monday include the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which will receive about $29.6 million, and Buckhead Christian Ministries, which will receive $12.7 million to expand an emergency relief program.
Georgia’s Ministry of Economic Development will receive approximately $11.5 million to help performance venues across the state recover from the effects of the pandemic.
“The arts and culture sector contributes $23.8 billion to Georgia’s economy, and getting it fully back on track after the economic damage caused by the pandemic is a priority,” said Tina Lilly, executive director of the Georgia Council for the Arts. “Governor Kemp has gotten our arts and entertainment venues back to work safely sooner than many other states, and the funding he announced today will provide further assistance in restoring this sector.”
The GHLA will allocate its grants according to a formula that will be tested in a pilot program. An application deadline will be determined in the coming weeks and will apply to hotels in Georgia that were in operation before the pandemic.
“We’ll make this a fair, data-driven application process that efficiently gets critical funds into the right hands,” Sprouse said. “We have the right partners in place to ensure the success of this program.”
The state awarded more than $422 million in federal ARPA grants for a Georgia-wide water and sewer project earlier this year, as well as more than $400 million for broadband projects.
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.