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Morning Inspiration & a Few Updates

April 9, 2020

We know the beautiful weather outside is just a tease as we all wish for crowded restaurants and Nationals opening week to be in play. But here we are, making the best of each day in this current situation.

We are inspired everyday by all of you, who continue to keep making the best of each day, and the entire region knows and sees the incredible efforts you are making happen as an industry. Yesterday, I was a guest speaker on District Strong, Federal City Council CEO and Former DC Mayor Anthony Williams' webcast, which brings together government officials and civic leaders who are at the forefront of COVID-19’s effect on the region. We were joined by John McDonnell, COO of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, and while the conversation focused on the difficult state of the restaurant business during this time and how the larger business community can help, it was also a great conversation about the innovation, resilience, and strength of this community that just keeps moving forward.

Every week we witness more of your creativity and innovation.  Just this week, we’ve seen ProFish Ltd. launch home delivery service for fresh seafood while our friends at Saval Foodservice are parking their truck in different locations in neighborhoods across the region to hand out packages of food to help restaurant employees. Today, they will be parked outside The Italian Store (3123 Lee Hwy. Arlington, VA) from 2-3pm.  Distilleries in the District are making hand sanitizer now to help supply the national shortage.  Dozens of restaurants now offer CSA packages of fresh fruits and vegetables for takeout, delivery, or curbside pickup. And twenty-four local restaurants are now partnering with Feed the Fight to crowdsource donations, drive revenue to restaurants, and provide thousands of meals each day to hospital workers across the region. We know of at least two additional programs like this in the works right now and we will share participation information with you soon.

These times are beyond challenging, but there are some great stories worth sharing with one another as we get through this together.   For the days leading up to this weekend, we will continue to share your stories, and also tell diners about your family meals, your mixed cocktails to-go (now also permitted in VA!), and we will be encouraging those who can to pre-order their Easter Sunday dinners from your establishments. Tag us on social media and we will share your stories, specials, and innovative models - @ramwdc on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

A few quick updates for your day:

In DC Mayor Bowser issued a new order that applies to “Retail Food Sellers,” which does not include restaurants, however restaurants are now required to adopt similar social distancing protocols and mark six foot distances outside and within their location to manage lines of customers. The Order goes into effect at 12:01am on 4/9.  Click here to read the full order.

Montgomery County has launched a website for its Public Health Emergency Grant (PHEG) program designed to provide $20 million in grants to benefit for-profit and nonprofit businesses with 100 employees or fewer. The website provides information for businesses to prepare their grant applications.  The program is open to businesses with 100 or fewer employees, including sole proprietors and independent contractors.  The site will include updates on the program and a link to the application, which is not yet open, but the site will later announce when applications can first be filed. Click here to learn more.

NRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund Application Update
The NRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund Application registration will re-open today at Noon (EDT) and 20,000 new registrations will be accepted. The Fund provides $500 grants in relief for restaurant workers impacted by COVID-19. You are encouraged to read the FAQs before applying. Click here to apply.

Stay safe. Stay kind.