Modern Family star Ty Burrell is teaming up with Salt Lake City, Utah, to provide a relief plan for workers who have been laid off in the food and beverage industry due to closures from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Burrell, who is a part owner of the Bar X and Beer Bar in Salt Lake City with his wife Holly, partnered with Mayor Erin Mendenhall and the Downtown Alliance to launch the “Tip Your Server” Program.
Burrell has provided an initial donation of $100,000 to launch the program, which aims to provide $2,000 grants to employees of any Salt Lake City restaurant or bar who have been laid off due to the closures initiated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or the earthquake earlier this week, a press release said.
Details about applying for a grant through the program will be available by March 25, and disbursements will be made as funds are available.
In addition to the public health crisis caused by COVID-19, the Salt Lake City area also experienced a 5.7 earthquake on Wednesday that was followed by several aftershocks.
“We’re hopeful that during this time, when so many restaurant and bar employees are facing uncertainty, that this effort can provide a small bit of relief,” Burrell, 52, said in a statement.
“Salt Lake City is a truly special place and our heart is with you.”
Mendenhall added, “I know the workers in the restaurant and bar industry are hurting right now and we’re working to help.”
“Our hope is that this grant program will help food and beverage industry employees make ends meet while businesses are forced to make these incredibly difficult decisions,” the mayor continued.
Downtown Alliance President and CEO Derek Miller thanked Burrell for his contribution to the program.
“We are moved by Ty Burrell’s generosity and know that there are many others who want to pledge support for our food and beverage worker friends,” Miller said in a statement, encouraging residents to support local restaurants by taking meals to go.
“Additionally, I would like to challenge everyone to join me in taking the ‘pick up pledge’ and pick up three meals this week from your favorite local restaurants,” he said.
Americans across the country are finding themselves unemployed as businesses shutter their doors to customers in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Last week, the Department of Labor reported the highest level of Americans filing for unemployment since September 2017, according to Buzzfeed News.
The federal government is also taking steps to help workers impacted by the global pandemic.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes provisions offering paid sick leave for impacted workers and free COVID-19 testing.
Additionally, Americans could be receiving checks in the mail for $1,000 or more to help the economic blow many are facing amid the ongoing pandemic.
“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” said Treasuring Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday, according to the Washington Post. Mnuchin said that the president hopes to send the checks out “in the next two weeks.”
As of Friday, there are at least 15,650 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and 202 deaths from coronavirus-related illness.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.
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