Dallas-area service industry workers form support network, resource hub for businesses affected by coronavirus

Shift Dallas is working to compile resources for area service industry employees. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Shift Dallas is working to compile resources for area service industry employees. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Shift Dallas is working to compile resources for area service industry employees. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Editor's note: This story was updated at 2:45 p.m. March 19 to include more information about Shift Dallas' nonprofit status.

A Dallas County order closing bars, entertainment venues and restaurant dining spaces is forcing small business owners to make serious decisions in the coming weeks.

As service industry stakeholders are grappling with local coronavirus concerns, one group, Shift Dallas, has emerged with the goal of connecting business owners with necessary resources.

"Our main goal is to ... identify what kind of help they need," said Leslie Brenner, one of the Shift Dallas organizers and a food and beverage business owner. "Connect them with resources, keep them informed ... and at the same time, begin to raise funds."

Brenner identified the following organizations and programs as being capable of addressing local needs: Restaurant Workers Community Foundation, Children of Restaurant Employees and the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.

But Brenner said there is still confusion among local workers about what benefits they qualify for.

"Lots of people in the service industry don't even know if they're eligible for unemployment benefits," she said.

The group is now directing those affected by business closures to fill out a survey on their website, www.shiftdallas.org.

As Shift Dallas is waiting to receive approval for its application to become an official nonprofit, the group is not accepting funds as of March 19.

Shift Dallas has received responses from over 200 workers in the North Texas area, organizer Seth Brammer posted on his personal Facebook account March 17.

Other group organizers include Alexie Estrada, Renee Strickland, Alison Matis and Brice Gonzalez.
By Gavin Pugh

After reporting for Community Impact Newspaper's Plano paper for over two years, Gavin launched the Coppell, Valley Ranch and Las Colinas edition in October 2019. As editor, Gavin's beat includes transportation, municipal government, education and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.


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