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New Orleans business group starts relief fund for ‘gig economy’ workers

A New Orleans business group has started a relief fund to help gig economy workers impacted by the shutdowns and cancellations that have resulted from the COVID-19 outbreak.

The New Orleans Business Alliance committed to $100,000 to initiate the fund and set a goal to raise at least $500,000, according to a press release issued Monday about the fund.

Gig economy workers in New Orleans include musicians, festival production staff, arena workers, ride-hailing drivers and others. Many of these employees do not have standard benefits including paid sick leave, paid time off, health care or overtime pay.

More than 8% of the city’s workforce worked in the gig economy, which comprises musicians, rideshare drivers, arena workers, and festival production staff, the statement says. It says the initiative has the support of Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the New Orleans City Council and French Quarter Festivals, Inc.

“As contract employees of often large corporations, gig economy workers tend to lack access to minimum wage, paid sick leave, overtime pay and standard employee benefits, making them particularly susceptible to changes within the economy,” said a press release about the fund.

The fund could help ensure “these critical members of the community” can continue participating in the local economy and that “their families will be taken care of during this difficult time.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday bars, movie theaters and casinos must close in the coming weeks, at least. Restaurants will be closed to patrons eating on site, he said, though take-out, drive-through and delivery orders are allowed.

Closures in #NewOrleans to slow the spread #COVID19:
🚫Bars, nightclubs & casinos closed
🚫Malls closed
🚫Entertainment venues closed
🚫Gyms & fitness centers closed
🥡Restaurants take-out/delivery only
🚫Public/private gatherings banned pic.twitter.com/TwTaX3hKDm— Mayor LaToya Cantrell (@mayorcantrell) March 16, 2020

“We recognize that this fund will only be part of the solution for most families, and will stand alongside Mayor Cantrell and the City Council to aggressively fight for additional resources as the federal response is solidified,” NOLABA president & CEO Quentin Messer Jr. said in the statement. “To our neighbors throughout New Orleans, we see you, we support you, and we will get through this together.”

NOLABA has committed the initial $100,000 and we encourage all local business leaders to join us. To learn more, donate or apply, please visit https://t.co/VNAlbRGDzS! @nolaready— Mayor LaToya Cantrell (@mayorcantrell) March 16, 2020


Read the full article here.


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