LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – Individuals receiving the grant work in entertainment, recreational and indoor food-service venues.

The payments of $793 were distributed based on applications processed through the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation (MRLAEF).

Grants are part of the Employee Assistance Grants program created through a $45 million bipartisan budget appropriation signed by Governor Whitmer in late 2020. Eligibility for the grant extended to individuals whose employment was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications were open in January of 2021.

“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,” said Whitmer. “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.” 

Employees in the following industries qualified for the grant:

  • Bars
  • Food Trucks 
  • Golf Courses 
  • Hotels, Motels, Bed & Breakfast, Resorts 
  • Nightclubs 
  • Restaurants 
  • Banquet Halls 
  • Bowling Alleys 
  • Cafeterias 
  • Casinos 
  • Caterers 
  • Theaters 
  • And other such recreational facilities. 

Applications were processed by the MRLAEF in January and February. The Michigan Department of Treasury began mailing checks to approved grant recipients on March 17. 

“Michigan’s restaurant and hotel employees need help,” said Justin Winslow, President & 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.” 

Requirements for eligibility include proof of Michigan residency; proof of employment in a listed industry on November 18, 2020 and proof of negative financial impact due to furlough, layoff job loss or a reduction in hours.

Early in 2020, the MRLAEF founded the Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund. They have raised several million dollars for restaurant and hotel workers, processed many checks for those in need, including CARES Act dollars approved by the Michigan Legislature and signed by Governor Whitmer.

More information about the grant program is available on the Employee Assistance Grants website