Restaurants Tell Senate of ‘Absolute Despair’ from COVID Shutdown
Pleading for help in speeding up state permission to reopen. More than 3,000 restaurants in New Jersey are expected to never return due to the coronavirus pandemic and associated shutdowns, hospitality industry representatives told senators at a Monday hearing where they pleaded for help in speeding up state permission to reopen. Marilou Halverson, president of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association, said there are around 20,000 restaurants in the state and that 15% to 18% are not expected to survive. That would be 3,000 to 3,600 of them. “This pandemic has created an atmosphere of absolute despair unlike anything we’ve ever been through,” said Jeanne Cretella of Landmark Hospitality, who said the company’s workforce went from 800 people to 10 and that $22 million in revenue has been lost and can’t be recovered.
REPEATING YESTERDAY’S RELEASE OF REOPENING PLAYBOOK IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Bielat Santore & Company Releases NJ Restaurant Reopening Playbook
A collaboration from some of the industry’s most reputable restaurant operators. Bielat Santore & Company has formed a task force comprised of multi-unit restaurant operators to collaborate on ideas, procedures, strategies and goals as they relate to the preparation for and the reopening of restaurants and other hospitality-based businesses in New Jersey. The Mission of this “task force” is to provide a collaboration of knowledge, expertise and innovative thinking from some of the industry’s most reputable restaurant operators, that will yield a strategy for all independent restauranteurs to follow, assisting all in the transition back to “business as normal.” No one person will have all the answers, as there are so many things to consider. Safety is an important concern, but just as important is the entertainment aspect of the business. Many customers are not going to want to be eating out without the social benefits that restaurants and bars provide. Furthermore, many will not be interested in wearing masks or having their temperatures taken. Restaurants are not going to be profitable having to operate with a dining room that is one third empty. We need to work together not merely for survival, but for success!
Reopening NJ: Downtown Retail, Restaurants Still Have Questions
Creativity can only go so far. Over the next two weeks, downtown retailers and restaurants statewide will wade into the second phase of Gov. Phil Murphy’s reopening plan after a months’ long pause to curb the spread of COVID-19. Local business owners will welcome back customers and diners to downtowns that may never look the same. But even with the green light from state officials to open June 15, many retailers are unsure about what they need to do to prepare for their customers. And, for restaurateurs, limiting seating to outdoor tables may not be enough to make ends meet.
N.J. Reopening Plan: Indoor, Outdoor Gathering Limits Raised
Indoor dining still not allowed. New Jersey is raising the limit on the number of people who can gather indoors and outdoors as the state’s coronavirus outbreak continues to slow and more easing of those restrictions is restricted in coming weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday. The cap on indoor gatherings is going from 10 people to 25% of a building’s capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower, according to an executive order Murphy said he’s signing. All attendees must wear face coverings and stay six feet from each other, he said. But indoor dining is excluded from the order. “Indoor gathering does not include indoor dining,” Murphy said. “This is not only directed at faith, but the big thrust is faith. I hope we’ll get to indoor dining sooner than later.”
NJ Movie Theater, Diner Open Up
In defiance of Murphy order. Two more New Jersey businesses have gone public with their defiance of Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive orders — a movie theater and diner that have both opened before the state’s allowing either. The Tilton Square Theatre in Northfield couldn’t wait and reopened on Friday, according to its Facebook page. Co-owners Clint Bunting and Brett Denafo told the Press of Atlantic City they used up their federal Paycheck Protection Program loan to keep their employees on the job, but the funds ran out on Thursday. Northfield police showed up at the theater but did not issue a summons or ticket but showed them a copy of the governor’s executive order, Bunting and Denafo told the Press. Brian Brindisi, owner of the Lakeside Diner in the Forked River section of Lacey, told New Jersey 101.5 he was inspired to open for indoor dining on June 1 after attending a rally of business owners on Monday of the Memorial Day weekend in Point Pleasant Beach. He said he believes Murphy has gone “too far” with his executive order, and that customers should be able to decide if they want to eat indoors at a restaurant.
Did You Know?
American Dream leaves family behind mall empire mired in debt. The Ghermezians had the American mall all figured out. As brick-and-mortar shopping centers steadily lost market share to online competitors, the family behind three of the four biggest malls in North America built a thriving business by infusing their properties with heavy doses of entertainment — a nod to the prevailing wisdom that younger people tend to prefer experiences to material goods. Their company, Triple Five Group, offered attractions worthy of the best theme parks. In a 2016 interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Don Ghermezian, who oversees the family’s American Dream mall in New Jersey, called the approach “internet-proof.” They weren’t betting on a pandemic.
Stay-at-home order in NJ lifted, Gov. Murphy says. Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the stay-at-home order that has been in effect since the height of the coronavirus outbreak at a press conference on Tuesday. New Jersey residents were initially told to stay at home unless they needed to leave for essential items or if they were an essential worker. The state has seen a downward trend in hospitalizations due to coronavirus in recent weeks, leading to the order being lifted.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Daily Alerts
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Thank you and remember all of the “Restaurant Industry Alerts” and “Thursday Restaurant Rap” interviews can be found at www.123bsc.com/news/. We intend to continue to keep you informed as we all look for an end to this crisis.