MA Department of Unemployment
The quickest way to file a successful unemployment claim is through the UI online portal which can be viewed here.
Guide to filing a new unemployment claim
Find a step-by-step guide to filing a new unemployment claim here
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The Boston Black Hospitality Coalition aims to preserve the few gathering spaces for the city’s many black residents – our neighborhood bars & restaurants. Our businesses play a critical role in community and economic development. Highlighting this we seek to ensure a prolonged future for our black-owned institutions.
THE FUTURE OF BOSTON’S BLACK OWNED RESTAURANTS & BARS
STATE OF EMERGENCY
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every member of our community, the country, and the world. During this devastating public health crisis, we are also forced to grapple with an economic crisis that has disrupted our livelihoods and significantly undermined the financial security of our most vulnerable community members. BBHC in partnership with the NAACP – Boston Branch, and on behalf of Boston’s black-owned restaurants and bars, some of which have lost more than 90% of their revenue in the effort to abide by local, state, and federal social distancing guidelines, is asking for support to ensure that these businesses will continue to exist long after this crisis is over.
As it stands, there are 8 black-owned liquor licenses in the city of Boston. All of them representing decades of advocacy from our elected officials and community-based organizations. Unless a strategic response is implemented immediately, our businesses – neighborhood anchors and pillars that represent an iconic legacy of black entrepreneurship and community development in Boston – will be forced to close their doors forever. 
A Snapshot of Boston’s Black-Owned Restaurants & Bars Amidst the Pandemic
- 90% of our business revenue came from onsite consumption that is no longer possible due to stay-at-home advisories and social distancing guidance;
- 83% of our businesses are located in Roxbury;
- 75% of our customer base is people of color (“POC”);
- 88% of our primarily POC workforce was laid off during this crisis, affecting 116 households;
- $1.2 million dollars of estimated lost revenue for the period from March, April, and May 2020
- 100% of our businesses will have to consider closing doors for good if the status quo continues.
BBHC appreciates the ongoing community and government efforts to support all small businesses during this time. However, to date, the black-owned restaurants and bars represented by this coalition have not received adequate financial support to survive this crisis. Our businesses have an arduous path ahead of us, and the BBHC needs our community’s help. BBHC is challenging city and state officials, public and private institutions and individuals with the ability to make a difference to do their part to ensure our historic businesses and dedicated employees can weather this storm and be here to serve our friends, families, and communities once the storm clears.
If nothing is done, the representatives of the coalition will be faced with a financial decision that would ultimately result in the closure of institutions who contributed to the combined 180+ years of service to Boston’s Black community.
Together we can overcome this crisis and preserve every aspect of Boston’s rich history, including its historic black-owned restaurants and bars.
The importance of ensuring that this community’s black-owned restaurants and bars survive this period of economic hardship cannot be overemphasized. Prior to this crisis, black-owned restaurants and bars were already grossly underrepresented within Greater Boston’s robust restaurant and hospitality industry. For example, of the 745 restaurants and bars with full alcoholic beverage licenses, only 3are black-owned (i.e., less than 1%). According to the U.S Department of Commerce, as of 2012, only 4,463 businesses that fall within the accommodation and food services industry were minority-owned (as compared to the 13,705 non-minority-owned businesses). Moreover, only 9% of those 4,463 minority-owned businesses are considered black-owned.
This data was provided by the members of the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition who are listed here
Navigating employment remedies and unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic can be confusing. The Victim Rights Law Center attorneys are still helping survivors with their employment needs and monitoring changes to employment policies that affect survivors’ options. Visit their website
for more information on employment remedies for survivors, or contact them for help.
While the state application is only in English (despite many previous and current efforts to rectify this), the Pioneer Valley Workers Center in Northampton created an online tool
to translate the UI application into Spanish. They’re working on a Portuguese translation as well!
The federal government passed a law providing financial help due to the disruption from the COVID-19 crisis (CARES Act). There are $1,200 payments available to help provide some financial assistance to most Americans. Can I get the Stimulus (Economic Impact) Payment?
Yes, you can!
- If you do not get any benefits or help from the government you can still get the stimulus check. If you are a single individual you should get up to $1,200. Those with children may qualify for more.
- If you do not file taxes because you make no or very little money (under $12,200 per year), you can provide your information to the IRS and receive the federal stimulus money. Most will get the $1,200.
- If you have a bank account and can provide your banking account number and routing number to the IRS, you will get your money sooner. Click here to open a non-predatory bank account. If you need help you can call BTHC staffer, Michael at 617-918-5279
is designed to help both employers and workers during a temporary slowdown in business. Instead of laying off workers, your employer can apply for the WorkShare program. Under WorkShare, you will work reduced hours and receive unemployment benefits along with your reduced wages. All workers in the same plan must share the same percentage reduction in their regular work hours. Reductions may range from 10% to 60%.
Restaurant Strong Fund
The Greg Hill Foundation
has teamed up with Samuel Adams* to support those from the Massachusetts restaurant industry who have been impacted by the COVID-19 closures. Their goal is to provide $1,000 grants to as many qualifying grantees as possible.
One Fair Wage – Emergency Coronavirus and Tipped and Service Worker Support Fund
One Fair Wage
is providing cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more who need the money they aren’t getting to survive. Are you a restaurant worker, delivery driver, or Uber/Lyft driver who has been affected by coronavirus and the economic downturn? One Fair Wage is here to help. Sign up for assistance here
Restaurant Workers Community Foundation
Restaurant Workers Community Foundation
was founded in 2018 to advocate for gender equality, racial justice, fair wages, and healthy work environments in the restaurant industry. In the wake of the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic, RWCF’s full focus is on supporting workers, small business owners, and an industry in crisis.
Restaurant workers make up 10 percent of America’s workforce, and they are among the country’s most vulnerable populations. More than 2.45 million restaurant workers live in poverty, and only 14 percent receive employer-sponsored health benefits.
As restaurants across the country cut hours, suspend business, and close for good, many restaurant workers will be faced with long-term loss of income. For months to come, they will need help accessing government benefits and mental health services, paying their rent, and feeding their families.
- Immediately direct money to organizations leading on-the-ground efforts in the restaurant community.
- To bolster their impact investing budget to provide zero-interest loans to businesses to maintain payroll during closure or re-open once this crisis has passed.
- To establish a relief fund for individual workers facing economic hardships or health crises as a direct result of COVID-19.
RESOURCES for RESTAURANTS and WORKERS : RWCF is compiling an extensive list of resources and links
related to the COVID-19 Crisis on its website, and, soon, they will collect data (qualitative and quantitative) from affected workers and restaurant owners so that they can work with local and national leaders to address the systemic issues the COVID19 pandemic has exposed.
Bartender Emergency Fund Program
Please read through the Selection Criteria and Eligibility Requirements
for the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program and if you believe that you are eligible, please fill out the application making sure to include the required supporting documents.
You do NOT need to be a USBG
member to apply for a philanthropic grant.
Financial Opportunity Centers and Credit Building
LISC partners providing career-building support, financial coaching, income supports and credit-building have had to transition to working remotely, expanding distance-learning, coaching, and employment services in order to best serve their clients, who need their services now more than ever. Their Boston Builds Credit
team is considering the credit impacts of this crisis and developing guidance and policy strategies for mitigating negative credit implications for vulnerable populations as a result of the economic impacts of this crisis.
Coronavirus and Equity
Communities that are already facing marginalization are being hardest hit by the virus and its economic repercussions, starkly exposing inequities. The Massachusetts Public Health Association
has formed an emergency task force to address equity issues. LISC supports their proposed policies
to ensure equitable access to emergency sick time, access to safe quarantine, moratoria on evictions, foreclosures, and terminations of public benefits. The Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance
has modified an existing funding opportunity for grassroots and community organizations to make funds available for short-term campaigns to respond to emergent health equity and housing needs in the face of COVID-19. Contact Kelsey Salmon-Schreck, at the Conservation Law Foundation
, for more information – applications are due April 3.
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