NYC Opportunity
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NYC Opportunity

A New Program to Help Restaurant Workers Affected by the COVID-19 Crisis and to Advance Equity in the Recovery Process

Restaurant putting “open” sign on store front
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The Restaurant Revitalization Program

As part of the Task Force for Racial Inclusion and Equity, the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) and the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA), in partnership with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, are launching the Restaurant Revitalization Program (RRP) to support unemployed or underemployed restaurant workers impacted by COVID-19 and their employers.

Restaurants participating in the RRP program will be eligible for grants of up to $30,000, which will be used to pay wages of $20 per hour to retained or newly hired workers for at least six weeks. Grants will be provided to a select number of restaurants committed to supporting the economic wellbeing of their workers and to making their meals accessible to vulnerable community members, including those who are food insecure, essential workers, or others who are facing challenges in a time of need. The City is collaborating with One Fair Wage, a nationally recognized advocacy organization working to raise standards and increase equity across the restaurant industry through its High Road Kitchens program. Collectively, the City and One Fair Wage will direct $3 Million into hardest-hit communities.

RRP Requirements

A core requirement is that participating restaurants must commit to move towards payment of the full hourly minimum wage, with tips on top, within five years of when the economy is back on its feet. The restaurants will also be asked to identify the specific steps they intend to take to operate as a “high road” employer serving their community. These steps could include demonstrating a commitment to increasing racial and gender equity in hiring, training, and promotion for management and staff, and a commitment to training their staff members on workers’ rights. The RRP program will also give preference to restaurants that will be making meals accessible, at no-cost or reduced cost, to New Yorkers in need and to restaurants located in the City’s Racial Inclusion and Equity Task Force target neighborhoods¹.

The restaurants will also be asked to identify the specific steps they intend to take to operate as a “high road” employer serving their community. These steps could include demonstrating a commitment to increasing racial and gender equity in hiring, training, and promotion for management and staff, and a commitment to training staff members on workers’ rights. The RRP program will also give preference to restaurants that provide free meals to New Yorkers in need; to restaurants located in the City’s Racial Inclusion and Equity Task Force target neighborhoods; and to minority and women-owned restaurants.

High road employment refers to practices in which employers voluntarily commit to higher than legally required standards with respect to wages, racial and gender equity, and other core conditions of work. These commitments to high road standards can improve job quality for workers while being constructive for the business model through higher worker productivity, lower employee turnover and increased profits.

One Fair Wage’s High Road Kitchens program will make $1 million available to support local restaurants. Restaurants that wish to partner with One Fair Wage as part of their engagement in the RRP program will have access to additional funding, free training from employers and other business consultants on how to profitably transition to higher wages and increase race and gender equity and mobility, and other resources from One Fair Wage.

RRP Application

The first round of applications are due June 19, 2020, with first awards to be announced starting the week of June 22, 2020. Applications will continue to be approved after the first round on a rolling basis, pending availability of funds.

More information about the Restaurant Revitalization Program can be found on NYC Opportunity’s website.

¹The 27 Target neighborhoods (CDs) include the following: Bronx (CD1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9: Van Cortlandt Park, Jerome Park, Soundview, Soundview Bruckner, Mott Haven, Melore, Longwood, Hunts Point, Highbridge, East Tremont, Morris Heights, Morrisania, Crotona), Brooklyn (CD3, 4, 5, 7, 13, 16, 17, 18: Brighton Beach, Brownsville, East New York, Starrett City, Sunset Park, Canarsie, Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant, East Flatbush), Manhattan (CD3, 9, 10, 11, 12: Washington Heights, Inwood, Hamilton Heights, Morningside Heights, Lower East Side, Chinatown, East Harlem, Central Harlem), Queens (CD1, 4, 8, 12, 14: Corona, Briarwood, Jamaica, Rockaway, Queensbridge) , Staten Island (CD1: Stapleton, St. George).

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