As the coronavirus shut-down rolls on, it’s not just restaurants, bars, and coffee shops suffering, it’s their staff, too.
With restaurants and cafés restricted to take-out only (and many opting to simply close), and bars prevented from opening at all, scores of cooks, servers, dishwashers, bussers, and more are out of work with no clear sign of when they’ll be able to earn income again. And while employment insurance rules have been loosened and various forms of assistance announced by the Quebec and federal governments, some people have to pay for rent, groceries, medications, and other needs immediately.
If you can spare a few dollars, here are some options for where to direct them. Meanwhile, you can also support restaurants (and ensure that laid-off staff have jobs to come back to) by buying gift cards, merch, or ordering take-out from places that are still open.
Note that most of the fundraisers below have not been individually vetted by Eater — for questions about how these funds are to be distributed, please contact individual fundraisers.
- A relief fund for Montreal restaurant workers has been set up, offering funds of $50 to $150 to those forced out of work by the impacts of the novel coronavirus. Donate here, or read more about the fund here.
- After being pushed out of its Mile End location by a massive rent hike in 2018, cozy co-op café Le Cagibi is raising funds to help it survive — right now, the café also has to pay off a bizarre $2,500 fine for not issuing a receipt to some kind of undercover agent.
- Also struggling is family-friendly NDG café Biscuits & Confetti, which is also now seeking donations via GoFundMe.
- A group of staff from Montreal music venues are raising funds via GoFundMe to help pay the bills of venue and bar employees in need.
- Drag performers are fundraising to help get through the crisis — they are dependent on nightlife to make a living (and while many drag performers have side-gigs, these are often in bars). An array of Montreal drag queens will also put on a virtual show on Tuesday March 24.
- The MTL Rapid Response Fund is attempting to direct funds to service industry workers, sex workers, freelancers, and others affected by coronavirus; they also have a helpful document outlining extra resources for those facing financial hardship (there’s also a separate document tracking where funds go, in the name of transparency).
- A relief fund specifically for bartenders in Montreal has appeared on GoFundMe.
- A relief fund for musicians and artists has been set up with the aim of directing funds to artists in Montreal and Toronto who have lost work due to COVID-19.