California governor Gavin Newsom has announced a new statewide program that will pay local restaurants to provide hot meals to senior citizens. The Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Seniors program hopes to keep California’s seniors — who are especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus — home, and will reimburse local restaurants for delivering three meals per day, according to Los Angeles Times.
Participating establishments will be reimbursed up to $16 for breakfast, $17 for lunch, and $28 for dinner, providing much needed revenue to ailing restaurants, whose dining rooms have been shuttered for weeks as a result of ongoing social distancing restrictions. ABC-7 reports that the funds will mostly come from the state and Federal Emergency Management Agency, while local governments will pay a smaller share.
Newsom noted that Restaurant Deliver is for seniors ineligible for other assistance programs. The program is targeted at high-risk seniors — those who have been contracted the virus or been directly exposed to it, who have compromised immune systems, or whose finances are below 600 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Newsom estimates that 1.2 million of California’s 5.7 million seniors are socially isolated, according to LAist.
The LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging & Community Services will manage the program countywide, and the City of LA is at the helm with its own program. How both entities will overlap remains to be seen. Participating restaurants throughout California will be selected by local governments, and their meals must adhere to nutritional guidelines. Ideally, suggested Newsom, ingredients would be locally sourced as well. Details are scarce on how the program will be managed, but seniors can dial the state’s adult services line to order food at (800) 510-2020.
Eater LA will update this page more information becomes available.