More grants are available to help local hospitality workers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A local group announced new funding that will help provide financial assistance to qualified hospitality workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Welcome to Memphis, a non-profit, is currently taking applications for one-time grants of $500 per eligible individual. The grant is made possible by the Pay It Forward Mid-South campaign of the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, hosted by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, a release said.

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Applications are available on the Welcome to Memphis website.

Qualified applicants include hourly and shift workers in the Memphis-Shelby County hospitality and tourism industry who have been:

  • Laid off
  • Furloughed
  • Had their hours reduced by more than 50% due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

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The eligibility includes:

  • Working in hotels and lodging
  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
  • Tour operations
  • Performance and event venues
  • Locally-owned full-service restaurants and bars.

Mary Schmitz, the executive director for Welcome to Memphis Executive said hospitality workers are the ones “scraping by at the grocery store, scraping to get their car fueled, scraping to meet rent.”

“They can’t get to work because they don’t have money to get to work,” Schmitz said. “Or they work in a restaurant, so if their shifts are cut and they only have a few tables at each shift, they can’t even afford to pay the babysitter to get to work.”

According to the release, employees who have received grants from the previous Welcome to Memphis funds are eligible for the latest grant, but a new application must be submitted.

“As a partner recipient of the Community Foundation, we are very grateful to the Foundation and its generous donors for providing much-needed assistance at this critical time,” said Mary Schmitz, Executive Director at Welcome to Memphis. “We recognize the ongoing economic challenges faced by our local hospitality community, and it is our hope that the new grants will make a positive difference for hourly hospitality employees as they continue to wait for their jobs to return to normal.”