COVID-19 UPDATE: Details of Hospitality Grant Program are unveiled

Mayor Joe Hogsett joined other city leaders today to announce details of the $11 million Hospitality Establishment Lifeline Payment (HELP) grant program for local restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

“Through these HELP Grants and our other ongoing efforts, we will keep fighting for our local businesses,” Hogsett said. “We ask that our partners at the federal level continue to do the same.”

Establishments can be reimbursed up to $25,000 for rent or mortgage costs from April to December 2020. Eligibility requirements and more details can be found at The application period will run from Oct. 15 to Nov. 6, but potential applicants are urged to prepare in advance because of expected high demand.

Within the $11 million HELP grant fund, $2.5 million will be set aside for minority, women, disability, or veteran-owned businesses, out of an understanding that those businesses faced greater hardship before the pandemic struck.

 “These establishments are the lifeblood of the local economy,” said Capital Improvement Board Executive Director Andy Mallon. “Our convention and tourism industries are made possible by the hospitality industry. By supporting our bars, restaurants, and live venues now, we’re putting Indianapolis in a position to recover more quickly from the pandemic.”

In addition to the HELP grants, the city has budgeted $1 million for establishments affected by COVID-19 public health orders to be reimbursed up to $2,500 for expenses related to winter preparedness during the pandemic. This includes the purchase of heaters, outdoor seating capacity, canopies, or other necessary PPE. More details on this separate fund will become available at in the coming days.

“We’re grateful for the city’s assistance for local bars and restaurants,” said Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association President and CEO Patrick Tamm. “But we know that their success depends on more than relief funds. We encourage all residents to continue to patronize their favorite spots to show their support.”

The City has now allocated all $168 million in CARES Act funding, including $30 million in rental assistance programming, $20 million towards contact tracing, $7 million for food distribution efforts, over $12 million for non-congregate shelter housing and rapid-rehousing for those experiencing homelessness, and more than $45 million in loan capacity and grants for businesses and non-profits affected by the pandemic.