$150K grants available for women-owned Texas restaurants


Table settings in Freda’s Seafood Grille in Austin on March 18, 2020. (Nexstar Photo/Andrew Choat)

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A new initiative to dole out more than $150,000 in grants to women-owned restaurants in Texas in light of the COVID-19 pandemic will soon go online.

The Texas Conference for Women and the Texas Restaurant Association partnered to give a hand-up to those establishments affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak and the government-mandated limitations that followed. Many restaurants were forced to re-imagine food service processes after cutting off access to dining rooms.

Texas restaurants have lost more than 700,000 jobs due to the pandemic, the association reported, and eateries have been forced to lay off hundreds of thousands of employees.

The grant program will provide $2,500 each to more than 60 women-owned restaurants across Texas through an application process run by the Texas Restaurant Association. Restaurant owners can apply on the association’s website. Recipients are expected to be announced in September.

“We are thrilled at the partnership between TRA and the Texas Conference for Women,” Texas Restaurant Association President and CEO Dr. Emily Williams Knight said in a prepared statement.

“Working women in this industry need particular support right now,” she said.

The restaurant association, citing statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that women accounted for 60% of job losses in March, stated women are shouldering a “disproportionate portion” of various impacts of COVID-19.

“Women are more likely to be impacted by the increased caregiving obligations from shuttered schools and day care centers,” the association explained in a press release on Monday. “And while all businesses have taken a deep hit, there has been an unprecedented drop in the number of women-owned businesses in the United States from February to April.”

“While these systemic inequities need to be addressed, as a community of women, we are committed to supporting other women – and hope this will provide some relief,” said Carla Piñeyro Sublett, Board President of the Texas Conference for Women, the state’s largest women’s conference, which is non-partisan and nonprofit. The conference promotes gender equality and amplification of women in the workplace and influence beyond the office and has done so for more than two decades.

Beyond the grants, the annual Texas Conference for Women, which is all-virtual this year on Oct. 1, will receive $20 vouchers for use at participating eateries, aiming to drive up businesses to restaurants who could use a boost.

Information on this year’s event can be found on the Texas Conference for Women website.

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