Indoor Dining Capacity Limits in N.J. Not Likely to Change
As COVID-19 cases spike. Indoor dining at restaurants in New Jersey is likely to stay at 25% capacity for a while as the state continues to deal with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday. The state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control this weekend investigated whether 76 bars and restaurants were complying with coronavirus restrictions. Of those, 10 were found to violate orders, said Col. Patrick Callahan, acting superintendent of the State Police. Murphy was asked if that is a bad sign for whether the state will feel comfortable increasing indoor dining capacity limits. The governor said he doesn’t see increasing capacity “in the foreseeable future.” Meanwhile, restaurants and other businesses continue to struggle amid ongoing restrictions to battle the pandemic.
Pennsylvania To Ban Drinking At Bars and Restaurants on Thanksgiving Eve
In effort to stop coronavirus spread. In an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19, Pennsylvania state officials announced Monday that residents will not be able to drink alcohol at bars or restaurants the night before Thanksgiving. Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced that the temporary suspension will go into effect on 5 p.m. Wednesday and remain in place until 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. “It turns out that the biggest day for drinking is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving,” Wolf said. “When people get together in that situation, it leads to an increase in the exchange of fluids, that leads to an increase in infection.” Patrons will still be able to purchase alcohol to-go.
NJ Restaurants Look to ‘Bubbles’
To stay afloat this winter. In a normal winter, Mhairi Robertson tries to fill the seats inside Bistro La Source, a swanky French restaurant in Jersey City. This year, she’s trying to fill bubbles. Robertson, the manager of the restaurant, says the six plastic dining bubbles situated in the restaurant’s parking lot is an essential part of their business plan, as indoor dining is currently capped at 12 people. “If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t have any business,” she said. She added, “We don’t really have any alternatives.”. As New Jersey’s restaurants are looking to adapt yet again amid rising coronavirus cases and tighter dining restrictions, people in the restaurant industry like Robertson are hoping that outdoor dining bubbles can help them stay afloat this winter.
USHG Closes NYC Restaurants
For all on-premises dining. Restaurateur Danny Meyer announced in an email Friday that Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, and Blue Smoke at Battery Park City — all part of the Union Square Hospitality Group family — would close for on-premises dining. “Given the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in New York City, and even within our own USHG community, we are making the decision that is in the best interest of the health and safety of our people,” Meyer writes in the letter. All three restaurants will remain open for takeout and delivery, and both Gramercy Tavern and Blue Smoke are also doing nationwide shipping. USHG appears to be the first major restaurant group in the city — or restaurant for that matter — to preemptively shut indoor and outdoor dining in response to the rising cases, which had reached 3.02 percent positivity on a seven-day rolling average, according city data. The decision Friday, mirrors the one made in March, where the restaurant group decided to close all its restaurants just a few days before the state-mandated shutdown order came in.
As Restaurants Close for Indoor Dining
4 ways they are staying afloat. (i) Heated outdoor seating. Outdoor seating is an easier issue for restaurants in warmer climates, where some are able to offer it all year round, weather permitting. (ii) Streamlined menus. Last spring’s COVID restrictions pushed many restaurants to carry out and delivery. Some tried to offer everything they’ve always offered, only to learn which kinds of food needed to be served immediately after it was prepared and couldn’t hold up for a car ride. (iii) Pop ups. The COVID era is allowing restaurants to head in completely new directions. Some launching entirely new menus with separate brands, seeing whether they catch on with customers. (iv) Virtual cooking classes. Dozens of chefs are now teaching courses on the Web, Facebook and Instagram. Pick anything you’d like to learn, whether food or drink, and chances are, a chef somewhere is teaching it.
Struggling NJ Restaurant Still Finding Ways to Help Others
For Thanksgiving. They’ve been struggling all through the pandemic to make ends meet, but that’s not stopping one New Jersey restaurant from helping others this Thanksgiving. The boxed dinner that saved the Calabria Restaurant in Livingston is a big Italian feast. The family sized meals were the family’s brainchild after COVID hit and shut the restaurant down. Takeout was all they had, and this made takeout simple and inexpensive. They feed a family for about $40, but the Ottaiano family doesn’t sell all of them. Some of the family packs are given to people who are having a tough time during the pandemic — many of whom have never needed help before.
Treasury Rejects PPP Tax Deductions
Unless Congress acts. In devastating news for restaurants, the U.S. Department of Treasury is now restricting ordinary business expenses from a small business’s tax deductions if paid with a Paycheck Protection Program loan. When Congress passed the PPP in March, legislators in both parties agreed that the forgivable portion of these loans—money used to maintain payrolls and pay other expenses including rent, mortgage and utilities—wouldn’t count as taxable income. It also understood that small businesses who receive PPP loan forgiveness should be allowed to deduct normal associated business expenses—including wages, rent and utilities—on their tax returns as they do every year. However, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service recently released new guidance on how expenses should be treated if PPP loans aren’t forgiven by the end of this year. Essentially, the government’s position is that the expenses, whether forgiven this year or in a future year, are not deductible. The reasoning, according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, is that the tax code prevents businesses from receiving double benefits.
How Restaurants Are Trying to Recoup Revenue
From a bleak holiday party season. Last year at this time, RPM Steak and RPM Italian, two brands in Lettuce Entertain You’s restaurant group, were booking six events a night as soon as the holiday party season started ramping up in the fall. Both on- and off-premise sites were booked for parties large and small, says Samantha Henry, RPM’s catering manager, including a brand-new ballroom space above RPM Seafood on the Chicago River. November and December are the most lucrative time of year for many operators, especially those with large event spaces. But this year, the spread of COVID-19 is cutting into company Christmas parties, private social events, winter weddings and any gathering of more than 10 people in most parts of the country. Some locales are even banning outdoor dining as coronavirus cases spike. But operators aren’t giving up. Many continue to hatch plans to recoup lost revenue with innovative alternatives.
Did You Know?
NJ Restaurants with great Thanksgiving takeout specials this year. Although Thanksgiving may look a little different this year, restaurants around New Jersey are ready to help bringing the holiday to your dining room table. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, and all of your favorite plates will be prepared by some of the best chefs in the state and will save you the hassle of cooking a full Thanksgiving meal. With all of your favorite traditional dishes included, enjoy Thanksgiving from the comfort—and safety—of your own home. All your favorite plates prepared by some of the best chefs in the state.
Restaurant jobs remain below pre-pandemic levels in 46 states and DC. Restaurant employment levels rose in October, albeit at a much slower pace than during the initial rebound coming out of the spring lockdowns. As a result of the recent slowdown, restaurant staffing levels remain 2.1 million jobs below pre-coronavirus readings. On the state level, employment trends were generally positive in October, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia added restaurant jobs between September and October, while only 13 states experienced job losses in the restaurant industry. Vermont’s restaurant employment level remained essentially unchanged in October.
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