$500 Grants for Eligible Restaurant Workers: IL Restaurant Association Offers Coronavirus Help

State Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-Dundee) announced today that the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) has launched a relief fund to help struggling restaurant workers that qualify with one-time $500 grants. Workers who had COVID-19 or cared for someone with COVID-19, or who were out of work without unemployment benefits for at least three weeks are eligible to apply.

“People in the hospitality industry have been hit hard during these forced shutdowns. This is an opportunity for those workers to receive a little help,” said Rep. Skillicorn. “We need to use common sense to protect our most vulnerable populations, but we need to open up our state and let families get back to work and supporting themselves so they don’t have to depend on the government or these kinds of grants.”

The IRA said it hopes to award as many grants as their funding allows. Applications are available in English (https://www.illinoisrestaurants.org/page/ReliefFundApplication) and Spanish (https://www.illinoisrestaurants.org/page/ReliefFundApplication_SP).

The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund is a program of the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF). This fund provides one-time grants of $500 to support restaurant employees facing hardship due to COVID-19. Grants will help cover basic living expenses such as rent, food and utilities.

Fill out the application and upload the three documents requested:

  1. Proof of Illinois Residency (License or State ID)
  2. Paystub from most recent foodservice establishment where you were employed for at least 90 days
  3. One or more of the following documents that apply to you:

A. Doctor’s Note for medical diagnosis/quarantine of COVID-19

B. Proof of relationship if primary caretaker of individual with COVID-19

C. A letter/notice of termination or other verification of unemployment

D. Confirmation of restaurant closure (screenshot acceptable)

Applicants will be evaluated and be notified by e-mail if they are selected. Grant checks will be sent by mail to the address provided. You are not taxed on these grants.

A step-by-step instructions video on how to apply is here: English (https://www.dropbox.com/s/pgrimrwv3ky8387/Video%20Oct%2018%2C%2011%2001%2002%20PM.mov?dl=0) or Spanish (https://www.dropbox.com/s/xes7vmnmjw9fbxl/Video%20Tutorial%20Spanish.mp4?dl=0).

According to the IRA, the restaurant and hospitality sector was the largest private sector employer in the state with over 25,000 restaurants. The estimate is that nearly 20 percent could close permanently because of these forced shutdowns. That is an estimated 120,000 jobs eliminated throughout Illinois.