NJ Restaurants Await Indoor Dining
As 18%-20% of independent eateries perish. There were approximately 20,000 restaurants in New Jersey at the beginning of March that employed some 350,000 workers across all 21 counties. But after experiencing a March 16 coronavirus-related shutdown that first allowed solely for take-out and delivery – and on June 15 permitted some outdoor dining – the number of restaurants is dwindling. Marilou Halvorsen, president and CEO of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association, estimates that between 18%-20% of smaller, independent eateries “are not going to come back from the pandemic,” even if indoor dining were permitted immediately.
Gov. Murphy Presented No Scientific Evidence in Lawsuit Against Asbury Park
A right to see what scientific evidence supports keeping indoor dining closed. A review of the pleadings filed on Friday in State v Mayor John Moor and Asbury Park, docket number C-56-20, shows that Governor Murphy filed a complaint against the City and sought an emergent preliminary injunction. The purpose was to restrain Asbury Park from enforcing their resolution of last Wednesday, where they tried to allow Asbury Park restaurants to conduct indoor dining. People waiting to read the pleadings to finally see the “data that drives the dates” as Murphy likes to put it, were greatly disappointed. There was no scientific material attached to the pleadings. This is odd because New Jersey Court Rules command that on such an application, where no sworn testimony is taken (there was none) there would have to be 1st party affidavits from witnesses setting forth the scientific facts.
Restaurants Will Be Back
I promise. In August 2018, according to the seasonally adjusted reckonings of the Census Bureau, sales at the nation’s restaurants, bars and other food-and-drink establishments outpaced sales at food and beverage stores for the very first time. This happened eight more times in 2019. In January and February of this year, it looked as if dining and drinking out had surpassed buying food and drink to eat at home once and for all. Then came the coronavirus, temporary and permanent restaurant closures and a lot of supermarket, superstore and online binge-buying. Since March, Americans have spent twice as much money at food and beverage stores as at food service and drinking places, and that underrepresents the disparity because lots of food and drink purchases made at Costco, Walmart and online are reported under other categories. Demand for what restaurants offer is surely not going away.
How New Rules for the Paycheck Protection Program Help Small-Business Owners
There’s now more flexibility around how the loans can be used. The Paycheck Protection Program, a loan program designed to help small businesses weather the economic downturn during the pandemic, has some new rules. These changes — approved by Congress via the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act earlier this month — are designed to make it easier for business owners to get their loans forgiven and increase the program’s utility. Among the updates: Business owners now have more leeway when it comes to spending the loan money. Previously, recipients were required to use 75 percent of the PPP loans for payroll in order to have the full loan forgiven, a limitation that wound up posing a problem for thousands of business owners, who needed a significant chunk of the funds for other costs, like rent and utilities.
Should You Ask Customers for Liability Waivers
When reopening? If New Jersey or Congress fail to grant some sort of liability protections for businesses reopening during the coronavirus pandemic, employers may consider asking their customers not to sue them by getting them to agree to advance liability waivers. Before going down that road, however, employers should know that the level of protection such waivers offer is largely unknown at this time. During an NJBIA webinar yesterday, attorney Edward J. Fanning of McCarter & English indicated that liability waivers for COVID-19 have not been tested in courts in New Jersey. Until then, there is no way to know if such waivers will really protect your business from lawsuits.
Did You Know?
You say it’s your birthday…Happy Birthday Sir Paul McCartney. A look back at his life as he turns 78 today. Sir Paul McCartney is one of the greatest musicians ever, period. McCartney is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He has written or co-written 32 songs that have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. His songwriting partnership with John Lennon remains the most successful in history. He gained worldwide fame as co-lead vocalist and bassist for the Beatles, the best-selling music act of all time.
“Restaurant Rap” continues with exclusive restaurant industry interviews. Today’s “Restaurant Rap” features an interview with long-time restauranteur, owner and operator of both the Pour House in Tinton Falls and the Sitting Duck Restaurant in Long Branch, NJ; Gary Schoelkopf. Schoelkopf attended Texas A&M University, where he had two different jobs on campus, working for both the food services and housing departments. For Schoelkopf, working these two jobs would prepare him for his time as a restaurant owner and would give him the essential skills he needed to run his two restaurants successfully. Tune in as he describes the challenges his businesses have faced during the pandemic. This series appears each Thursday within the company’s Restaurant Industry Alert daily bulletins. It presents recorded virtual video interviews with local restauranteurs and other industry professionals, many of whom are the firm’s clients, customers, and associates.
All previously recorded interviews can also be found at our website www.123bsc.com/news/ and on at https://vimeo.com/bielatsantore.
How economists want to replace those $600 jobless benefits. Lawmakers should replace a $600 unemployment supplement for jobless workers with a maximum $400 a week, according to a new proposal issued by a group of powerhouse economists. The proposal comes as Democrats and Republicans debate the merits of extending the $600 weekly enhancement to unemployment checks, which is scheduled to end after July 31. While federal relief has already been substantial, more is necessary to boost the economy, increase jobs and reduce the unemployment rate.
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.