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Industry Updates 4/2

April 2, 2020

In this morning’s message, we mentioned creating an anchoring message as we enter into the Congressional Phase IV of relief. If you have not done so already, please email to provide feedback as to what you think should be included in the Phase IV relief outside of what we already know. For more information on what we are already working on, click here

We have received a few requests from our restaurant community for access to masks and gloves.  At this time local health authorities are not requiring full time use of masks and gloves, however we do understand that as essential businesses, while you are operating your restaurant with an abundance of caution around health and safety, you may be asked by your employees about availability of these supplies.  Local governments are not in a position to distribute these supplies to our community right now, however we do have some of our supplier partners who can assist. Acme Paper and Supply Company and TriMark Adams-Burch both have gloves currently in stock. Acme Paper will also have masks in stock soon. They will have details to share this week regarding access to supplies.

Many of you have asked for visual resources to post on site as part of your heightened protocol. Click here for a simple visual poster you can post for employees to see and follow. 

National Restaurant Association Employee Relief Fund Applications Open

The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund will provide grants to restaurant industry employees who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, financially, whether through a decrease in wages or loss of employment. The application process opened today. Click here to apply. 

Grants will be awarded as soon as possible to those individuals who meet the prescribed eligibility criteria, as reviewed and verified by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). Subject to the availability of funds contributed to the Fund, a one-time grant of $500 will be disbursed directly to the applicant following NRAEF’s review and confirmation that their submitted application meets the prescribed guidelines. Awards will be limited to one grant per person.

Additional Information on Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The National Restaurant Association hosted a webinar today on the FFCRA, and we want to share important takeaways from the webinar that provide additional clarity beyond what we have already sent. Click here to view the full deck, as it has helpful information about FFCRA which went into effect yesterday. 

  • If your restaurant or business is open, you are required to post this sign in a visible place. 
  • DOL has advised they will not bring enforcement actions against any employer until 4/17, however this does not protect you against private litigation.
  • An employee is not able to access Unemployment Insurance and Sick Leave/FMLA at the same time. 
  • If you close, you are no longer required to provide or pay Paid Leave/FMLA.
  • You are immediately eligible for Paid Leave and have to be on the payroll for 30 days to be eligible for FMLA.
  • Legislation allows for a hardship exemption for businesses with less than 50 employees. You do not apply for the exemption from the Department of Labor, but instead you can determine that you meet the criteria outlined by the DOL (questions 58 & 59 here), and then act accordingly. The attorneys from Littler Mendelson PC, recommend you view this as more of an exception than exemption and that if using the exemption, you MUST document how you have met the required DOL criteria in case you are investigated. 
  • All leave should be documented in writing. 

Sharing Best Practices as a Community

RAMW is here for you and we know that in this tight-knit community many of you are supporting one another, as well and sharing best practices as we all navigate next steps, each and every day. Our regional community is unique in that way, and we hope you all continue to share and help one another as you refine and retool your business models through this period. 

As we hear from you and follow you on social media platforms, we are seeing many best practices in place, from those of you who are doing takeout and delivery, that may be helpful to others.

  • Clear visual signage on restaurant doors and windows communicating instructions for zero-contact pickup and physical markers or cones establishing 6-foot gaps between customers who are picking up orders. (Example from Founding Farmers)
  • Communicating to customers via websites and social media that online pre-ordering and curbside pick-up are available. Some operators are also asking for a make and model of the vehicle so that customers can stay in their cars and staff deliver bags to a drop point near the vehicle. 
  • For walk-up to-go pickup, establishing stations where customers do not have to enter premises but can easily pick up pre-orders. (Example from Tico)
  • Contactless payment through online pre-order or through third-party ordering partners.
  • Offering non-food supplies like paper goods and cleaning supplies to support needs. (Example from Chef Geoffs)
  • Continuing to communicate your restaurant’s health and safety practices, have visible use of gloves at all points of food-handling and customer interaction including any contact with to-go order bags; Have visible hand sanitizer that is also available to customers picking up; Have gloves available for customers if touch is necessary to take payment or input a pin code for debit cards.
  • Offering family-meal style packages that may take a family through more than one meal so they can limit outings. (Example from Cork; Example from Liberty Tavern

A few weeks ago, we started a private/closed Facebook Group called RAMW Restaurant Operators Community Forum for this exact purpose -- for you to share and glean ideas and answers from each other. If you would like to join, please look this group up on Facebook and send a request to join to the Admin. We ask that you keep this limited to operators and related businesses. 

We will be in touch with more tomorrow. 

Have a good evening and make sure to walk outside and take in some fresh air in a socially distanced kind of way.