Los Angeles is offering a stipend to local hospitality and food service workers as the restaurant industry continues to starve for business amid the country’s second wave of the coronavirus.
Local restaurant workers in Los Angeles whose jobs were impacted during the pandemic are currently eligible for an $800 stipend, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday during a coronavirus briefing.
A waitress serves beer to patrons at Ye Olde King’s Head in Santa Monica, Calif. Los Angeles County announced new coronavirus-related restrictions this month prohibiting in-person dining for at least three weeks as cases rise. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Under the benefit plan, called SERVE (Secure Emergency Relief for Vulnerable Employees), 4,000 food workers employed at restaurants, food trucks, market stands, bars and breweries around the city will be able to apply for funding, the mayor said.
Garcetti noted the economic losses were “mounting” among food service workers and business owners with outdoor dining suspended.
“I’ve heard the pain in the voices of our service workers and from our restaurant owners,” Garcetti said. “I’ve seen it in the data, which shows us that approximately four in every 10 people who work in full-service restaurants have already lost their jobs this year.”
Food and beverage industry workers must be at least 18 years old to apply. They will also have to show they earned under $58,450 in 2019 and that they are currently facing economic hardship as a result of the pandemic. Qualified candidates can apply beginning Monday, Dec. 7 by visiting coronavirus.lacity.org/serve.
L.A. County earlier this month mandated that all restaurants suspend indoor and outdoor dining for three weeks, a move that sparked a backlash with the California Restaurant Association (CRA) seeking a court order to stop the shutdown.
A Safer at Home order was also put into effect last week due to rising COVID-19 cases and deaths. The order imposes stricter regulations on retail businesses with occupancy limits capped at 35%, malls at 20% and 50% for gyms and fitness centers. Most public gatherings will also be banned and residents are urged to stay home “as much as possible.”
Businesses across the country have faced financial devastation due to nationwide shutdowns, which imposed capacity limits on restaurants and retailers and restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. As a result, 60% of business closings nationwide due to COVID-19 struggles are now permanent, according to data from Yelp released earlier this year. As many as 32,109 restaurants, bars and nightlife establishments closed as of Aug. 31, with 19,590 of these closures for good, Yelp data shows.
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