- Los Angeles will provide one-time payments of $800 to out-of-work restaurant staff who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to KABC. The program, which is a partnership between the city and nonprofit Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, will be available to workers who have lost their jobs and those who have lost at least half of their salaries this year.
- The Secure Emergency Relief for Vulnerable Employees will be available to 4,000 employees. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, have a 2019 income of less than $58,450 and work at restaurants, food stands and breweries, wineries and bars that provide food. Applications will open Dec. 7.
- Los Angeles County closed outdoor dining beginning Nov. 25, banning all on-premise dining for at least three weeks following a doubling of coronavirus cases. Indoor dining was previously banned by the state.
As restrictions on restaurant operations continue to mount, many operators have been put in a bind as they prepare for what is likely to be a tough winter. Some restaurants have already defied orders to close indoor dining, arguing they have already spent thousands to create a safer environment for guests. Others have decided to temporarily close during the winter with plans to reopen later.
While owners face difficult decisions about what to do as their losses mount, the pandemic has been particularly hard on their employees. Those that are still working have faced increased hostility and sexual harassment from customers who have been resistant to following COVID-19 safety procedures.
Many restaurant employees have lost their jobs. One in four full-service restaurant workers have already lost their jobs this year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Wednesday during a press conference.
"With outdoor dining suspended at our restaurants, the losses suffered by the industry's workers and business owners are mounting," Garcetti said. "The city must step up to provide relief to restaurants."
Municipalities and states have had to step in to provide additional grants and aid to workers and restaurants since additional federal stimulus isn't likely to arrive until January. The District of Columbia allocated $35 million in aid to offer $10,000 to $50,000 to 700 restaurants in need. Chicago also created a $10 million grant program to provide $10,000 to independent restaurants forced to close indoor dining.
The latest proposed bipartisan relief bill would include $300 per week in additional unemployment benefits and $288 billion in PPP loans, but does not offer funding specifically for the restaurant industry, which industry leaders have pushed for over the past several months. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected the bill on Tuesday. Under the proposed Restaurants Act, $120 billion of grant funding would be provided to restaurants.