Restaurant Revitalization Fund
ENTRÉE Act may add $60 Billion in relief. CBS News reported in May 2021 that after the official debut of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the SBA received more than three times the number of applicants than expected. As a result, CBS News reported that “more than 362,000 eligible businesses ended up applying for nearly $75 billion in assistance through the program.” In late July, Nation’s Restaurant News reported that Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer introduced the ENTRÉE Act in the House of Representatives to add an additional $60 billion in relief dollars to the fund. In addition to this new funding, the proposed legislation would distribute dollars on a first-come, first-serve basis. In the previous month, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a similar measure—dubbed the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021—to add $60 billion to the relief fund. Neither piece of legislation has been passed into law. Regardless, if replenished, the funding would almost certainly help the battered drinking & dining industry as the pandemic continues amid the spread of the Delta variant.”
Will N.J. Indoor Mask Mandate Return?
Following latest CDC guidance change? he federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course Tuesday and recommend all people, including the fully vaccinated, wear masks indoors again in public places with “high” or “substantial” COVID-19 transmission rates — which appears to include several parts of New Jersey. The agency is also recommending that everyone in K-12 schools across the country — including students and staff — wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status, though it’s still recommended students return to in-person classes. Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration is evaluating the latest recommendations, a spokeswoman told NJ Advance Media on Tuesday afternoon, but did not make an announcement about any mask mandates returning to New Jersey. “Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Health will review the new CDC guidance on masking requirements in response to the spread of the delta variant,” Murphy spokeswoman Alex Altman said in an email. “Governor Murphy continues to encourage all individuals ages 12 and up to receive the free and effective COVID-19 vaccination to reduce the spread of the virus.”
Vaccine Proof to be Required
At 500 San Francisco Bars. Starting Thursday, patrons of some 500 bars in in San Francisco will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter. That’s according to a decision by the members of the SF Bar Owner Alliance, which was announced Monday. “The SF Bar Owner Alliance is extremely concerned by a recent uptick in cases of COVID-19 among our staff members, especially those who are fully vaccinated,” the group said in a statement, which was shared on Twitter. “We believe we are obligated to protect our workers and their families and to offer a safe space for customers to relax and socialized.” Guests who cannot present proof of vaccination or a 72-hour negative coronavirus test are allowed to sit outside, the statement said. It will be up to individual bars how best to enforce the new policy, the group said. While individual establishments around the country have been requiring proof of vaccination to enter, this appears to be the first coordinated effort by a large group of bars or restaurants. “This decision is based solely on our need to protect our workers, customers, and their families,” the group said. “However, we hope it might also influence some who have not yet received vaccinations to do so as soon as they are able.”
Biden Predicts Restaurants and Businesses Will Be ‘in a Bind’ for Some Time
Due to labor shortages. President Joe Biden conceded during a CNN town hall on Wednesday that certain businesses will remain “in a bind for a little while” with labor shortages, part of a major set of problems that’s unfurling as his six-month-old presidency reaches a critical juncture. Covid cases are rising, a testament to a vaccination effort that has stalled amid waves of disinformation and skepticism. Pent-up demand has caused an uptick in prices, leading to concerns over inflation. And Biden’s much-touted bipartisan infrastructure deal remains in a state of limbo as Republicans and Democrats rush to finalize the plan. Asked by a restauranteur about how the federal government will incentivize returns to work among industries with labor shortages, Biden said, “I think it really is a matter of people deciding now that they have opportunities to do other things.”
Restaurants Hungry for Digital Signage
March 2020 changed things for those slower-to-adopt chains. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, digital signage technology upgrades at drive-thrus were a mixed bag across the fast casual and quick-service restaurant industries. While some chains were embracing the latest offerings by digital signage companies, others were just dabbling into the technology. With the pandemic shutting down in-person dining across the U.S., restaurants had to think of new ways to engage customers and began leaning on drive-thru orders and a relatively new phenomenon called “curbside pickup.” For customers, it was a safe, efficient and easy way to buy a meal and support businesses. For the businesses, curbside was a lifeline that led restaurant executives to rethink their digital signage plans, especially at drive-thrus. “The industry had to weigh up how the ‘new normal’ would impact the application of digital displays and what new innovations could be applied to assist clients with the challenges they faced,” Chris Day, managing director of Moving Tactics, a digital signage solutions company said in a press release.
NYC Restaurants Survived COVID
Only to be destroyed by woke complaints. The newest threat faced by New York City restaurants isn’t high rents or the pandemic. It’s employees who use credulous media to air beefs that chefs and owners aren’t being nice enough to them. A handful of restaurants truly were cesspools of misconduct deserving to be shut down. On-the-record sexual-harassment claims wrecked the Spotted Pig, owner Ken Friedman and his pal Mario Batali. A chef at Danny Bowien’s shuttered Mission Chinese, once praised for what Bowien called a “healthy” environment for cooks, hurled racial slurs at a black employee and deliberately scalded him with a spoon dipped in hot oil. But the struggle has since shifted to the far murkier ground of “abusive language” and “toxic atmosphere.” Progressive-minded news organs and social media posts air grievances that seem petty, vague or disputable, sometimes shielding complainants with anonymity while affording no such courtesy to the accused. “Defend yourself, slime!” is the rule of the day.
Why Restaurants Are Abandoning Conventional Service Models
Changing consumer expectations. The restaurant industry is seeing a major wave of innovation right now. Many existing restaurant owners are abandoning the conventional service model for several new models—like food trucks, “groceraunts,” and delivery-only restaurants. Much of this change is likely in response to shifting demand generated by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced restaurant owners to adapt rapidly to stay afloat. Now, as the pandemic winds down and consumers return to in-restaurant dining, the restaurant industry as a whole is learning which alternative service options are most likely to offer a competitive edge still. Changing consumer expectations and preferences are likely to have a major impact on the restaurant industry, even as the coronavirus pandemic winds down. Delivery and contactless models are on track to remain much more popular than they were pre-pandemic, potentially opening up new opportunities for dark kitchens, food trucks, and similar service options. Community-based restaurants may also become more important.
Did You Know?
Tips and ‘service with a smile’ rules fuel sex harassment in restaurants, study says. There is broad agreement that the restaurant industry is rife with sexual harassment. More than 70% of female restaurant employees have been sexually harassed, one recent survey found, and half experience sexual harassment on a weekly basis, according to another. Harassment complaints come to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from restaurant industry workers more often than from any other sector. Now a new two-part scientific study looks to confirm why. Dependence on tipped wages, along with job requirements to appear friendly and pleasant — in other words “service with a smile” — jointly create a culture of sexual harassment, according to a team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame, Penn State University and the Emlyon Business School in France, who say their study is the first to provide an empirical link between tipping and sexual harassment.
Mask up again, in areas where COVID cases are climbing, the CDC says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday revised its guidance calling on fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in areas where the Delta variant is gaining ground. The moves comes as restaurant policies to require proof of vaccination — for both workers and guests — are on the rise. Currently, just under half of Americans have been fully inoculated, but the CDC said vaccination remains the most effective means to control the pandemic. Full vaccination saves lives, prevents illness and reduces the spread of the virus, the CDC said. Death rates have dropped dramatically as vaccination rates rose in recent months. But between June 19 and July 23, COVID cases increased about 300% across the country, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. New data indicates that even the vaccinated can transmit the coronavirus, and health officials are worried that the continued spread of COVID will allow mutations that could evade vaccine protections to emerge.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Daily Alerts
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Capital Gains Tax to Double. Biden has proposed to raise long capital gains rate from 20% up to 39.6%. At the same time the administration is seeking to eliminate or limit the 1031 option to defer capital gains. If this plan is enacted, you will now pay 39.6% plus the 3.8% Obamacare tax, for a whopping 43.4%. The tax may become retroactive to the announcement date of April 2021.