Covid-19: 15 Days in Review
First and foremost, we hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during this challenging time.
The restaurant industry is home to more than 15 million trained and skilled employees in restaurants across the country serving the public every day. America’s 1+ million restaurant and foodservice locations are the place to gather with friends and family. Now, since March 16, 2020, the restaurant industry has been decimated by mandated closings due to the coronavirus outbreak.
How did this all begin?
January to February: Americans lose their taste for Chinese food…Americans stopped dining at Chinese restaurants, leading many across the country to report steep declines in business; some have since closed.
February into early March: Patrons cancel their dinner plans…As March approached, several West Coast cities like San Francisco and Seattle saw a rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Not surprisingly, full-service restaurant reservations saw a drop. In New York City, March cancellations were 45 percent higher than last year.
Early March: Americans choose grocery over takeout…As pleas for people to self-quarantine and practice “social distancing” filled screens, many Americans stopped going to restaurants entirely and prepared to stay home and cook for themselves. Downloads for grocery delivery app Instacart increased 215 percent between February 14 and March 15.
Mid-March: Restaurants ordered to close…With the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. reaching 2,000 by mid-March, many state and city officials announced executive orders to shut down all onsite-dining at restaurants and bars. The total number of hours worked for local businesses in the food and drink sector had dropped 40+/- percent by March 17, while the number of hourly workers overall declined 45+/- percent.
Later in March: Private Affairs cancelled…The CDC officially recommended the cancellation of weddings in the United States for eight weeks, or until mid-May, while may State governments mandated no social gatherings of 50 or more, later reduced by the Federal government to 10 or more.
Big chains seem equipped to weather the coronavirus shutdowns, but smaller businesses are scrambling for help from governments and customers. The National Restaurant Association estimated this week that the entire industry would lose $225 billion in the coming three months and shed five to seven million employees.
The National Restaurant Association asked the federal government Wednesday for a $145 billion recovery fund. The package also proposes a series of tax cuts and credits, and federally backed business-interruption insurance. Traditional business-interruption policies are expensive, and some exclude coverage for pandemics.
Customers are trying to do their part, too. Online fund-raising campaigns for individual restaurants are popping up almost by the hour. A national social-media campaign with the hashtag #toosmalltofail was started Friday, urging customers to call lawmakers and lobby for help on behalf of independent restaurants.
When the crisis is over the restaurant landscape will likely look very different. When the industry does start up again, many say it will be a time to let go of outdated business practices and develop new, more creative ways to feed people.
Bielat Santore & Company has been attending to the real estate, business brokerage, financial and consulting needs of the restaurant industry for over 40 years. We want you to know we are here for you and we will be here to serve you when you reopen.
May God bless and keep you and may He stretch His mighty hand out and scrape this virus from the face of the earth. Keep the faith…
Timeline: Lockdown’s Impact on the Restaurant Industry
MARCH 16 – All restaurants in NJ ordered to closed by 8:00 pm
March 17 – Restaurants permitted to stay open for take-out and delivery only
MARCH 18 – Consumption liquor licensees (Types “32” and “33”) are permitted to do takeout and delivery of alcoholic beverages
MARCH 19 – NJ approved for SBA Disaster Loans
MARCH 20 – Bielat Santore & Company makes available financial spreadsheet to help restaurants compute capital needs.
MARCH 21 -The Federal tax-filing deadline will move to July 15, the same day tax payments are due.
MARCH 22 – What to Do If You’re Laid Off Due to Coronavirus Closures.
MARCH 23 – The federal government is racing to ease the pain facing the U.S. economy as the coronavirus pandemic makes its swift pivot from public health crisis to financial catastrophe.
MARCH 24 – The State of New Jersey has developed a centralized resource to match talent with opportunities in industries on the front lines of serving New Jersians during the outbreak.
MARCH 25 – Senate Democrats have reached a deal with the Trump White House and Senate Republicans on a massive $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.
MARCH 26 – ND3DA announces initiatives including a grant program for small businesses and a zero-interest loan program.
MARCH 27 – House passes $2 trillion emergency spending bill to combat economic impact of coronavirus, sending measure to Trump for enactment.
MARCH 28 – Coronavirus Bill Lets Struggling Americans Tap Retirement Money.
MARCH 29 – Stimulus Package Brings Relief to Most Student-Loan Borrowers.
MARCH 30 – Bielat Santore & Company shares financial spreadsheet to help restaurants compute Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Loan Forgiveness.
MARCH 31 – Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act is released.