Restaurant group offers grants to workers

Restaurant closed Photo credit iStock/Getty Images

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Online applications are now being taken for restaurant workers in need of financial assistance.

The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Restaurant Employee Relief Fund is providing $500 cash to restaurant workers who’ve been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Money can go for workers’ rent, food and other basic living expenses.

Restaurant Association President Sam Toia said 594,000 restaurant jobs are at stake throughout Illinois.

At least 20% of restaurants will be forced to close their doors permanently, resulting in the loss of 120,000, the organization estimates.

“Establishing this fund was a necessary step to do all that we can to secure the stability of our current workforce. We need to help as many people as possible across Illinois,” Toia said in a news release.

The grants will be awarded giving priority to restaurant workers who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are caregivers for an immediate relative ailing from the virus. Also eligible are restaurant workers who have been out of work for three weeks or more without unemployment benefits.