Chefs, waiters, and others in the hospitality sector in Denver will benefit from $1.5 million in federal Covid-19 pandemic relief funds after the City Council overwhelmingly approved two grant programmes Monday night.
Under the “Denver Back to Work” initiative, the Colorado Restaurant Association has been tasked with distributing $1 million in order to attract and retain workers. Another $500,000 will be managed by the Colorado Event Alliance, an entity formed expressly to respond to the pandemic.
As business Covid limitations were eased this spring and summer, the hotel industry has struggled to keep up with the demand. Due to a lack of employees, hotels were forced to run on limited hours.
CRA President Laura Shunk says “We know that these grants will go a long way toward helping restaurants bring on more staff at a crucial time”.
The initiative follows in the footsteps of the CRA’s $3 million Angel Relief Fund awards, which were awarded to an estimated $10,000 award maximum for firms using this programme. The sole eligibility criterion is that the company have a location in Denver.
The restaurant’s organization will not impose any restrictions on how qualified establishments utilise their funds; it predicts that more than 940 hospitality employees may receive pay-outs averaging $1,500 apiece. Shunk stated that funds may be utilised for items that affect worker availability, such as child care.
Alieen Reily, who co-owns the Denver Italian restaurant Coperta with her brother, had to lay off employees twice during the pandemic but was able to re-staff each time.
With the prediction of another difficult autumn and winter for restaurants, Reily says she wants to value her long time staff and make them feel appreciated at the time when competition for restaurant workers is strong.