The City and One Fair Wage have awarded funding to nearly 100 restaurants only.
Today, Mayor de Blasio, Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity co-chairs First Lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor Dr. Raul Perea-Henze, and Executive Director Sideya Sherman, and One Fair Wage announced nearly 100 restaurants were collectively awarded $2.3 million through the Restaurant Revitalization Program to support the economic wellbeing of their workers and to make their meals accessible to vulnerable New Yorkers.
“Restaurants are the heart and soul of our city and we will do everything we can to protect the culture and identity that they create across neighborhoods,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The Restaurant Revitalization Program will move us forward in our fight for fair recovery and deliver economic relief to people who need it most.”
"The Restaurant Revitalization Program is a reminder of what can be achieved when the public and private sector come together to help strengthen communities by addressing inequity with reforms and bolstering struggling businesses,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "This initiative will help restaurants get back on their feet, and preserve the culture and warm, personal connection these familiar spaces provide in our neighborhoods.”
The Taskforce brings an equity-based approach to COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and has announced 10 initiatives over the last three months. Services aim to address the specific challenges of New Yorkers in communities of color, where COVID-19 has exacerbated existing disparities. The City conducted a survey with more than 300 community members during the Spring and this feedback helped guide the Taskforce's work.
The Taskforce announced the Restaurant Revitalization (RR) program in June, in partnership with One Fair Wage and with support from the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. The program supports unemployed and underemployed restaurant workers affected by the pandemic and their employers, with a focus on communities hardest-hit by COVID-19. More specifically, over 900 employees will receive critical financial support through the program. Participating restaurants have committed to paying a full minimum wage in addition to tips over the next 3-5 years, promoting race and gender equity, and providing free meals to vulnerable community members, including those who are food insecure, essential workers, or others who are facing challenges in a time of need. Many restaurants have also committed to making more permanent changes as they recover like training for staff on workers' rights laws, supporting staff in improving financial awareness and empowerment, and cross-training employees to introduce them to new skills.
How it works
The program provides restaurants with short term payroll support, funding subsidized wages to employ displaced restaurant workers who will prepare meals (including some free) for their communities. Under the Restaurant Revitalization Program, participating restaurants are eligible for funding up to $30,000 each, to be used to pay wages of $20/hour to subsidized employees for at least six weeks. In addition the City is collaborating with One Fair Wage (OFW) – a nationally recognized advocacy organization working to raise the standards and equity across the restaurant industry – which launched its High Road Kitchens program in New York City, making $1 million available to support local restaurants with funding of up to $35,000 per restaurant.
Collectively, the City and OFW will direct $3 Million into hardest-hit communities to support over 100 restaurants across the five boroughs. The Restaurant Revitalization Program is implemented by NYC Opportunity and the Human Resources Administration, with support from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC and the partnership of One Fair Wage.
"Our beloved local businesses and restaurant workers in communities across the five boroughs have been among the groups hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. "This partnership--which is getting people back to work and nourishing communities, all while raising standards across the restaurant industry--is a prime example of the business and nonprofit communities working in collaboration with local government to make our city a stronger, more equitable place."
"An equitable recovery will require new ways of doing business, and these restaurants -- by providing free meals in their communities and by committing to raise wages so all staff earn a $15 minimum wage with tips on top -- are leading the way," said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity. "We are proud to recognize and support these restaurants and their workers along with our partners HRA, the Mayor's Fund, One Fair Wage and the James Beard Foundation."
We added the word certain in the by-line, because that is what this program is all about. Giving 2.3 million dollars to certain restaurants that this task force wants.
We think that the New York City Comptroller should open his mouth up, and say that this is not fair and equitable since many restaurants that are doing this exact thing are not going to be a part of this plan.
We also think that the Department of Investigation should check to see where each and every dollar goes, as well a the New York State Attorney General's office.
Finally, it appears that this is an attempt to raise the minimum wage from $15.00 to $20.00 by the mayor.