Restaurants Seek Meeting with Murphy on Reopening Plans
The industry wants to be part of the decision-making process with Gov. Phil Murphy. The New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association (NJRHA) today announced the creation of a 30-day “#IServeJersey” social media campaign that will showcase videos of restaurateurs describing their challenges and experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdown. Additionally, the campaign will organize a series of meetings across state in which local and state elected officials will be asked to participate to hear and discuss what is happening within the industry. During the Zoom and Facebook Live session this morning, NJRHA President Marilou Halvorsen also said the industry wants to be part of the decision-making process with Gov. Phil Murphy regarding how and when restaurants and banquet centers can reopen safely for indoor dining. People can now board airliners, touch items on store shelves and place them back, “but they can’t go to dinner with their families where the social distancing of tables and sanitation protocols are in place? The reality is that it’s summer and people don’t have anywhere to go, so they are moving their socializing indoors to places that don’t have sanitation protocols,” Halvorsen said.
New Jersey Governor Retightens Restrictions on Indoor Gatherings?
After COVID-19 surge. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Monday announced he was retightening restrictions on indoor gatherings after a recent surge in coronavirus cases in the state that officials have, in part, linked to house parties and indoor events. Murphy said such events will now be limited to 25% of a room’s capacity with a maximum of 25 people, down from the previous limit of 100. “The actions of a few knuckleheads leaves us no other course,” Murphy said at a news briefing. “We have to go back and tighten these restrictions once again until we begin to see the numbers of cases decrease.
Next Stimulus Package
Every benefit you could receive, including a second check. Congress and the White House are working to meet a Friday deadline to agree on another stimulus bill. Here’s where the debate stands on enhanced unemployment benefits and more as we head into the second week of negotiations. While both sides — Republicans including White House officials and Democrats — agree on the need for a second stimulus check for up to $1,200 for those who meet the eligibility requirements, these sticking points and others are creating a gulf over how to balance helping Americans who are financially struggling during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic with a need to jump-start an economy in deep recession. In addition to a new check, the bill under negotiation could provide a range of financial aid through the end of 2020. What’s the likelihood that major financial benefits like the extra weekly unemployment benefit, payroll protection and an employee retention tax break will be part of the final stimulus bill?
Restaurant Sales Climbed as Stay-At-Home Orders Lifted Across the US
Now foot traffic has slumped again. Restaurant customer transactions dropped by more than 40% between the end of the month and the early weeks of April, new data from The NPD Group showed. The National Restaurant Association also found that by late March 3% of restaurants in the US had already permanently closed because of the pandemic and another 11% expected to follow suit over the following 30 days. Customers returned to restaurants later in April, May, and June, through drive-thrus, delivery, outdoor dining and — in some cases — dining rooms. It led to chains including McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ reporting in earnings calls last week that sales improved week over week throughout the quarter. Results in July, however, indicated the improvement in sales experienced by the industry was short-lived.
What Happens to Outdoor Dining in Fall and Winter?
Restaurants that pivoted to outside operations amid the pandemic are wrestling with how to keep things rolling through cold, snow and more. Restaurant operators are counting on outdoor business to bring in almost all, if not all, of a restaurant’s sales during the pandemic. So, they’re coming up with creative ways to keep those outdoor spaces inviting even as the weather in many parts of the country turns less-than-picnic-perfect. Servino Ristorante, which sits on the waterfront just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, has two patios decked out with built-in heating systems. Since then, though, the restaurant has added other enhancements to keep diners comfortable in cooler weather such as replacing metal outdoor furniture with tables and chairs made from materials that feel warmer to the touch, adding greenery and shrubbery to not only help provide physical distance between tables but to also serve as a shield from wind whipping in off the water, offering blankets that are laundered between each use and retooling the menu to better accommodate outdoor diners. The restaurant will introduce its fall-focused offerings a bit earlier than normal, in case guests want to warm up with slow-cooked meats and braises or even warm cocktails.
Struggling Restaurant Industry is Offered a Lifeline by Massachusetts Lawmakers
Restaurant owners seek financial help from the state. The Massachusetts House is proposing to create a new “Distressed Restaurant Trust Fund,” financed in part from proceeds from legalized sports betting. The measure was included in an economic development bill that emerged from a budget-writing committee on Friday. The measure also would legalize sports betting, estimating it would yield $50 million in new gaming revenues. The bill provides for directing 30 percent of new sports-betting revenue to the restaurant fund. That translates to $15 million a year, assuming the Senate approves this language. The money would be doled out in one-time grants, up to $15,000 per restaurant, to address the financial impact of COVID-19, and could be used to cover rent, payroll, and insurance, among other expenses.
Bars, Strip Clubs and Breweries Discover How to Survive During the Pandemic
Reopen as restaurants. In hot spots across the country, where states have again shut down bars and other nonessential nightlife operations to help flatten the curve of the pandemic, the impacted establishments have faced difficult decisions: Do they keep their doors closed and risk the death of their businesses and their livelihoods? Or do they find some legal workaround to remain open, potentially exposing patrons and employees to a virus that has already killed 147,000 Americans? Increasingly, bar and club owners have been turning to the same allies to stay alive during the pandemic: food and restaurant licenses.
Two Organizations are Working to Revive NYC’s Chinatown
As it reels from the pandemic and racial stigma. Small businesses in Manhattan’s Chinatown have survived weeklong closures following disasters like 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. But those hard times don’t compare to the months of dwindling business the neighborhood is experiencing from the coronavirus pandemic. Chinatown small businesses report losses of 60% to 80% as early as February from a decline of customers that happened before New York City’s first confirmed COVID-19 case and the city’s mandatory lockdown in March. While New York recently lifted its restrictions on outdoor dining, Chinatown restaurants are still contending with a lack of visitors.
Did You Know?
22 riskiest places for catching coronavirus. As soon as lockdown lifted and states started reopening, the question on most people’s minds was the same: What are the riskiest places when it comes to potential COVID-19 infection? Nonprofit journalism outlet CivicMeter conducted a survey of 27 epidemiologists, asking them to rate the risk of contracting COVID-19 at each venue in the United States on a scale of 1-10. Whether you prefer the hair salon, church, your local watering hole, or your local Target store, you might be surprised how your go-to locales rank—click through to find out.
Frustrated one off hospitality employees share workplace concerns. Current and former employees of One Off Hospitality, one of Chicago’s most successful restaurant groups, have voiced their frustrations in an open letter, posted to Instagram in English and Spanish, that details what workers describe as an unpredictable and unsafe working environment. In the letter, 68 workers specified several areas of issue. “For many of us, this job is an absolute necessity, something we cannot live without,” the letter reads. “However, our long-awaited return to work was met with staff-wide pay cuts, reduced working hours, freezing of our benefits, inconsistent restaurant operating protocols, and understaffing while dining areas were filled to their legal — yet alarmingly full — capacity.”
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Daily Alerts
A voice for our industry. If you are finding these now weekly bulletins informative and beneficial during this pandemic, we kindly ask that you write a brief Google review providing a vote of your appreciation. Simply Google “Bielat Santore & Company” and when the company name appears click the button on the right to write your review or; if you don’t use Gmail, go to Google Maps, type “Bielat Santore & Company” – Allenhurst, NJ into Google Maps; scroll down and you will see an option to leave a review.
A new and exciting update. Keep your eyes open for the release of Bielat Santore & Company’s new E-Book, “100 Days of Darkness,” scheduled to be published soon. Once a definite release date is established, you will be able to obtain a copy on the firm’s website, www.123bsc.com.