NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray on Thursday laid out plans to offer support to restaurants that are struggling because of the pandemic.
The $3 million Restaurant Revitalization Program will initially support 100 restaurants in 27 of the hardest-hit neighborhoods.
Priority will be given to restaurants that offer free or reduced cost meals to New Yorkers affected by the virus.
For at least six weeks, the program will subsidize the wages of hundreds of unemployed or underemployed restaurant workers at $20 an hour.
All participating restaurants must commit to giving employees a $15 minimum wage plus tips within five years of business getting back to normal.
"We cannot go back to business as usual. Now is the time for change. This program helps us pave a path forward," said Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City Executive Director Toya Williford.
"Those who give us so much, and I mean our small business owners, people who in many ways create the identity of the character and the neighborhood because their businesses, to so many New Yorkers, really define a lot of what's special about the neighborhood," De Blasio said.
The program will also provide grants up to $30,000.
The program falls under the First Lady Chirlane McCray's responsibilities as the head of the city's new task force on racial inequality.