December 8, 2020

As Congress talks, businesses try GoFundMe to survive COVID-19

By haziqbinarif

More than half of the $522 billion distributed by the first PPP round went to 5 percent of recipients, including businesses that haven’t been as hard-hit as the hospitality sector, like law firms, construction companies and temp agencies, according to the Small Business Administration.

Philadelphia shuttered its bars and restaurants on March 16 (aside from takeout) and allowed them to reopen only in May. Since then, Oscar’s Tavern, a dimly lit bar in Center City Philadelphia, has struggled to get by. Philadelphia shut down indoor dining again in November amid the surge of COVID-19 cases.

Oscar’s is another famed Philly institution that turned to GoFundMe to stay afloat. The bar has been in Richard Chodak’s family for 48 years. He’s hoping to raise $20,000 to help cover Oscar’s mortgage and utilities and to help out his staff.

“The way I’m looking at it is, I have to survive January and February. Those are the months that are really going to hurt the most,” he said.

Others are doing the same. Dirty Frank’s, a windowless dive where Philadelphia’s poet laureate works the door, has raised $28,700; The Bike Stop, the city’s only leather bar, collected $17,700 toward a $40,000 goal; Fergie’s, one of the first bars to get serious about craft beers, got $67,400. They all are places that define and give character to their neighborhoods.

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