About 90% of restaurant and bar employees in the United States were laid off in the last week according to numerous reports. COVID-19 threatens not only the health, but the financial well being of service industry workers. However, some resources are available to provide a measure of relief to affected workers.
Below you will find Neat Pour’s running list of funds available for industry workers affected by the coronavirus crisis. Most of these resources both assist workers and accept donations. We will update the article as new options come online.
Another Round, Another Rally is a hospitality industry non profit focused “on reimbursement grants and immersive educational scholarships to further the education of underrepresented voices in the community, and supply emergency assistance to those employed in restaurants, bars, and hotels who have fallen on unexpected hardship.” The group’s impressive team includes Jeremy Veatch, Kiowa Bryan, and Nataki Garret Meyers.
ARAR is distributing $500 emergency grants to industry workers impacted by COVID-19 closures.
The Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC) United is one of the industry’s largest worker advocacy groups. They also offer relief available for all restaurant employees.
Of note, this fund aims for 72 hour turnaround on applications.
One Fair Wage normally focuses on on fighting against sub minimum wage or tip-credits, but during the pandemic, they are marshaling their resources to provide relief to tipped workers.
Restaurant and bar employees, delivery drivers and other tipped workers are all eligible for aid. The effort is national, but about a dozen states have been prioritized for the initial round pop aid. (Still, your should apply now, regardless of state of residence.)
A nod towards their raison d’etre, the $2.13 sub minimum wage, the group is giving $213 payments.
The United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) is also offering emergency cash specifically for bartenders. Notably, membership in the organization is not required. The value of the awards was not specified, but the application is relatively simple.
Tip of the hats to Jameson Whiskey ($500k), Skrewball Whiskey ($100k), Singani 63 ($25k), and Old Duff Genever ($1 one every bottle sold) for their significant donations. Note: Since publications, almost every major producer has made a significant donation to this fund.
The National Restaurant Association (aka ‘the other NRA) is a trade group more focused on ownership’s concerns, but these are trying times. So, the group is helping out employees with $500 payments. According to their website, ” grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have demonstrated being financially impacted by COVID-19, whether through a decrease in wages or loss of employment.”
There is an application process and grants are awarded on a first come, first serve basis.
Another advocacy group, the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation created a fund of their own. Their COVID19 Crisis Relief Fund is a little different than most of the others. In addition to aiding individuals, the effort will also offer zero interest loans to reopening restaurants after the crisis passes as well as fund other on-the-ground relief efforts for the industry. Donations are currently being accepted, but the application process is not open yet.
Also worth mentioning, the organization has an excellent resource page here.
Whether you were paying attention or not, you’ve likely been paying into unemployment insurance for as long as you’ve been working. Now, is the time to collect (assuming that you’ve been officially laid off). Benefits and process vary state by state, but here’s a good place to start.
It’s wise to make sure that you have your estimated income, a past year’s tax return, and your social security number handy when you apply.
At this point in the pandemic, most cities and states have local organizations dedicated to aiding local industry workers. These efforts often offer a mix of food, finances, and digital tipping. Check out local social media groups as good place to find them or give a co-worker a call.