If you’re a restaurant worker struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus, help is on the way. And if you’ve been looking for a way to aid the service industry during this time, this is one way to help.
Guy Fieri teamed up with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation on Friday to launch the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The campaign associated with the fund will raise money to give one-time $500 grants to impacted workers as soon as April. To donate or apply, go to rerf.us.
Applications for the grants will be made available starting April 2, according to a press release. To qualify, you need to have worked in the restaurant industry for at least 90 days, had a primary source of income in the restaurant industry, and have experienced a decrease in wages or loss of job on or after March 10.
“My entire career has been in the restaurant business,” Fieri, host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, said in the release. “From bussing tables to flambe captain to dishwasher to chef…I’ve done it all.”
“I’ve also spent the better part of the last 15 years traveling this great country meeting other folks who’ve dedicated their lives to this business and let me tell you something, they are the hardest working, most real deal workers you’ve ever met…the heartbeats of their communities,” he continued. “But they need our help and with Restaurant Relief America, we can serve up some support when these restaurant employees need it most…right now.”
Checks from the fund are given out on first-come, first-serve basis. Original capital was kicked off by a number of anchor sponsors including PepsiCo, Moët Hennessy USA, Uber Eats, Constellation Brands, which owns Corona beer and Svedka, among many others — and 100 percent of future donations will go towards the impacted restaurant workers.
As Americans have been instructed to social distance to reduce the spread of COVID-19, restaurants across the country have been forced to close.
In an op ed published in the New York Times on Tuesday, powerhouse chef and restaurateurs Andrew Carmellini, Tom Colicchio, Danny Meyer, Missy Robbins, Marcus Samuelsson and Adam Saper wrote of just how detrimental it’s been to the industry. They estimated that 75 percent of independent restaurants are likely to never reopen.
As of March 27, there are at least 85,381 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, the most worldwide.