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  • City Announces New Hospitality Grant and Relief for Restaurants and Employees

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    A new $10 million Chicago Hospitality Grant Program announced today by Mayor Lightfoot has been designed to supplement existing federal and state financial programs by providing emergency relief to bars and restaurants that have been most affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The program is funded through a reallocation of CARES Act funds from the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund. This reallocation was made to ensure that businesses most impacted by the recent state-imposed mitigation measures would have access to emergency grant funds at this critical time. 

    In addition to the Hospitality Grant Program, Mayor Lightfoot today also announced that she will collaborate with the City Council to pursue legislation that will temporarily cap the fees that third-party companies can charge restaurants or bars for their delivery services. This initiative, which requires City Council action, would provide immediate relief to local establishments that are relying on third-party delivery services now more than ever while they cannot operate indoors. Mayor Lightfoot will be working with the Chicago City Council to pass this legislation as soon as possible.  

    “Our independent restaurants add so much to Chicago’s neighborhoods, and now more than ever we must show our support,” said Tom Tunney, Alderman of the 44th Ward. “I am proud to support these emergency efforts, and I believe a temporary service fee cap will provide much needed relief for thousands of businesses.” 

    The City recognizes that COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on hospitality workers, many of whom have lost their jobs and can no longer access increased unemployment benefits due to expired federal relief. To support these workers, the City has partnered with The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership to launch ChiServes.com, a portal that hospitality workers who have lost their jobs can use to access a network of resources through The Partnership. The Partnership is also launching a new text campaign where registered recipients will receive weekly blasts of current job listings. By texting “ChiServes” (or “ChiSirve” for Spanish-speakers) to 474747, workers will receive texts with information about who is hiring now, upcoming virtual or in-person workshops and hiring events. Additionally, restaurant workers are encouraged to apply for a grant through the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, created by the Illinois Restaurant Association. 

    To help bars and restaurants apply for the new Chicago Hospitality Grant Program, the City will be hosting a series of webinars over the next few weeks. To register and learn more, visit chicago.gov/businesseducationAdditionally, the City is directing businesses to apply for grants through the State of Illinois Business Interruption Grant Program (BIG). Applications are available today at www.illinois.gov/dceo.  

    Read the full press release and additional reporting in the Chicago Tribune.