LANSING — Employees in the entertainment, recreational and restaurant industry who applied for a special employee assistance grant in January can expect to see $793 checks in their mail soon.
Governor Whitmer announced on Thursday that more than 55,900 individuals will begin receiving the grant payments of $793. Applications were processed through the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation (MRLAEF). The grants were originally meant to pay up to $1,650.
The grants are part of the Employee Assistance Grants program, which was created through a $45 million bipartisan budget appropriation signed by Whitmer in late 2020. Workers whose employment was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic were eligible to apply for the grants in January. The MRLAEF processed the applications in January and February and notified applicants of approval or denial. The Michigan Department of Treasury began mailing checks to approved grant recipients on March 17.
Michigan workers who had been impacted by the state’s pandemic health orders and worked in a wide variety of businesses, like bars, banquet halls, bowling alleys, nightclubs, restaurants and other such recreational facilities were able to apply for the grant.
“Michigan’s restaurant and hotel employees need help,” said Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association. “We are honored to administer these much-needed grants. These dollars provide assistance for the hardship experienced during these extraordinary times.”
Applicants had to be Michigan residents, demonstrate proof of employment in a relevant industries on Nov. 18, 2020, when the state’s last sweeping pandemic orders took effect, and prove being negatively impacted financially because of furlough, layoff, job loss or a reduction in hours worked.
The MRLAEF founded the Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund early in 2020 after the state’s first “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. The foundation has raised several million dollars for displaced restaurant and hotel workers, processing many checks for those in need, including CARES Act money approved by the Michigan Legislature and signed by Whitmer.
“As we continue to address the effects of COVID-19, our top priority is providing financial relief to Michigan families and small businesses, so that we can grow our economy and get back to normal,” Whitmer said. “This special grant program puts dollars in the pockets of Michiganders who work in hospitality, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services sectors — as well as the gym and fitness sectors. These Michiganders have made great sacrifices and continue to make great sacrifices as we fight COVID-19.”