The Ohio Restaurant Association hopes to raise $30,000 in the next month to help industry workers struggling to pay their bills during the ongoing pandemic.
A recent survey from the organization found that 54% of restaurant owners and operators said they might be forced to close in the next nine months, if demand doesn't rise. That would mean thousands of furloughed restaurant employees would have to wait even longer to return to a steady income.
The ORA and the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which was launched in April, are working to raise $30,000 from now through mid-September to help workers. The grant money is restricted for housing, living and medical expenses.
“With sales continuously down month-after-month across the industry in most sectors, employees need assistance now more than ever,” said ORA president John Barker in an emailed statement.
The ORA's survey found that three-quarters of Ohio restaurants have reopened since restrictions were lifted in May, but 17% don't have any plans to return any time soon. Of those that remain open, almost half are operating at just 50% capacity, which also means bringing back fewer employees.