With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to the closing of many bars and restaurants across the U.S. and elsewhere, the hospitality industry, along with the lives of the workers within it, is changing in unprecedented ways. We’ve compiled the most up-to-date information and resources available and will continue to update this post as events unfold.
Resources for Bars and Bartenders
- The USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program is offering grants to bartenders affected by the virus. You do not need to be a USBG member to apply.
- For those in the foodservice industry, the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund will offer grants to individual workers affected by the virus and zero-interest loans to businesses.
- Also for foodservice industry workers, One Fair Wage has launched an Emergency Fund to provide immediate assistance to restaurant employees.
- Another Round Another Rally offers $500 relief grants for hospitality workers who lost their jobs or had their hours cut because of the virus.
- CORE offers assistance to service industry workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have a child living in their home.
- The Seattle Hospitality Emergency Fund will assist service industry workers in the Seattle area who have been laid off or had their hours cut because of the virus.
- The Southern Smoke Foundation in Texas is offering emergency aid for food and beverage industry workers in crisis.
- Rye on Market, in Louisville, Ky., is offering “family meals” for pick-up for restaurant workers who’ve lost work because of the virus.
- Hook Hall, a tavern in Washington, D.C., has established Hook Hall Helps, offering “family meals” and distributing care kits filled with essentials for D.C.-area hospitality workers.
- The Warren Bar and Burrow in Pittsburgh will be offering 100 free meals a day to service industry workers who are out of work because of the virus.
- The Giving Kitchen offers assistance grants for Georgia food industry workers with documented illness (including COVID-19) or other significant hardships.
- Many workers may qualify for unemployment benefits. Check your information by state.
- The NYC Employee Retention Grant Program will provide aid to small businesses located in the five boroughs of New York City that employ fewer than five people and have experienced at least a 25% decrease in revenue because of the virus. Eligible businesses will receive a grant covering up to 40% of their payroll for two months, up to $27,000 in total.
- The Facebook Small Business Grants Program is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses. Facebook says details will be available soon.
- Beverage Trade Network is asking industry business owners to complete a survey about business plans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who complete the survey will receive a report about the results.
How to Help
Please contact your local lawmakers to impress upon them the need to take immediate action to help the hospitality industry. Possibilities include postponing taxes due, such as the New York State sales tax that’s due at the end of this week, relaxing any off-premise sale or delivery laws, straight-up bailouts and other measures.
If you’re unaffected by the crisis and have a reliable income, please consider donating to one of the following causes that promise to provide assistance to industry folks who need it.
- USBG National Charity Foundation COVID-19 Relief Campaign
- Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund
- One Fair Wage Emergency Fund
- Another Round Another Rally
- Seattle Hospitality Emergency Fund
- Hook Hall Helps via the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s Coronavirus Worker Relief Fund
- Rye on Market is offering free meals for laid-off hospitality industry workers in Louisville, Ky.
You can also support your local bars and restaurants by ordering takeout or delivery if they offer it. (Remember to tip the delivery workers well.) You can also help keep them going by purchasing merchandise such as T-shirts or totes or buying gift certificates to spend once the immediate crisis has passed; many restaurants are participating in the Dining Bonds program, offering gift certificates that are sold at a suggested price of 25% less than face value, but redeemable at face value upon dining at the restaurant (which is to say, you can purchase a $100 gift certificate for just $75).
Industry News and Actions
- Jameson pledged $500,000 to the USBG COVID-19 Relief Campaign to be allocated to those facing financial hardship and will match up to $100,000 in individual donations until March 31.
- Patrón pledged $1,000,000 to support nonprofit partners of the hospitality industry that help families, individuals and business owners.
- Beam Suntory and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits together pledged a total of $1,000,000 to the USBG relief fund and the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation.
- Diageo pledged $1,000,000 to the USBG relief fund.
- Ilegal Mezcal pledged $50,000 to the USBG relief fund. In addition, says Ilegal, 100% of the profits from sales of its Ilegal Mezcal Oaxaca, Mexico, shirt will also go to the fund.
- Screwball Whiskey has donated $100,000 to the USBG relief fund.
- Singani 63 has donated $25,000 to the USBG relief fund.
- Michter’s Distillery and Philip Duff have jointly donated $10,000 to the USBG fund.
- AMASS pledged 10% of all sales of its Botanic Hand Wash will go to the USBG fund.
- Kentucky Peerless will offer curbside pickup for distillery select single barrels with a portion of each purchase going to the USBG fund.
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