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Reopening Resources and Regional Updates 5/1

May 1, 2020

Dear Operator, 

I hope you are all staying steady as we round the next corners of this rollercoaster.  

As you continue to try to put your arms around PPP, our friends at CPA Eats are working through planning scenarios that may be helpful for all of you as you try to make insightful decisions. Matt Hetrick will be hosting daily Zoom meetings next week on how to best protect your business, whether or not you’ve secured a PPP Loan, as well as thoughts on how to spend the money more efficiently.  These sessions will happen all of next week, beginning Monday, May 4.  Space is limited so please reserve your spot on the calendar here.

While there is some uncertainty about exact timing and protocol around the reopening the region, we know there are near finished blueprints outlined and regional leaders are focused on announcing exact next steps in the coming days.  Now is a good time to start thinking about all the steps that need to be taken on your end, so you have your ducks in a row and are ready to go when businesses are permitted to change operations from the current standards. 

Reopening requires two sets of guidelines. First, the government mandated guidelines we are working with regional leaders on and will share with you soon. Second are the operational guidelines and recommendations for ensuring your teams are prepared, that your finances are in order as much as they can be, that your physical restaurant and inventory are ready, and that you have communication plans in place to train staff on protocol and to let your customers know what you are doing, to name a few things. Some of our industry partners have shared resources, toolkits, and checklists to help you consider what you may need to do in all of these areas. 

Our Industry Partner, Ecolab, has helpful COVID-19 Foodservice Operations Resource Libraries, created to support achievement of the highest standards of cleanliness, disinfection and hygiene. The libraries also provide a variety of additional resources, including:

  • Return to Normal Operations Checklists: Recommendations at the restaurant level to help you make plans for resuming operations after a partial or full closure. 
  • Updated Cleaning Procedures: Expert procedures to ensure your locations are using the most up-to-date cleaning procedures for COVID-19.
  • Top Considerations Post-COVID: Guidance to help identify gaps and provide direction as you navigate reopening and returning to fully operational. 

The James Beard Foundation hosted a useful reopening webinar last week and shared some key items that resonated with many of our operators. Click here to see the deck.  They highlighted some critical paths to assess, including: 

  • Finance: Identify cash on hand, determine APs + ARs, when to rehire, how long you can sustain, operations with your current cash flow, and revenue needed to break even.
  • In operations, once regional mandated guidelines are announced, quickly establish clear COVID-19 specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure your team and your guests are safe. 
  • Consider your budget projections and revenue sources as you think through your reopening menu. This will impact how you renegotiate vendor terms, set ordering pars, and additional operational decisions such as delivery and pickup protocol.
  • Assess HR considerations around re-hiring, PPP, training, payroll, benefits, and compliance. 
  • Make a plan of how you are communicating internal messaging, external messaging, PR, website, and social media around your reopening plan. 
  • Look at technology contracts and facilities to assess services you may have put on hold like HVAC, grease trap, and more. 

Similarly, Streetsense shared their Pandemic Relaunch Toolkit for Restaurants and Bars, and our friends at FoodPRO shared their Operator Insights for Reopening checklist.  

Navigating Personal Finances During COVID-19

RAMW Endorsed Provider, USI Insurance Services developed a guide to help individuals and their families who are experiencing, or may experience, a reduction in their household income due to the pandemic. USI provides some planning steps one can take to feel more secure and empowered during these difficult times. This guide can be helpful to all individuals regardless of their employment status (working or unemployed) as some of the recent developments will aid many households, even if everyone is still fully employed. We encourage you to share this document with your team.

Relief Updates

We have been in conversations with members of the DC Council throughout the week to help develop additional legislative relief. Once we are clear on all bills being considered, we will share as we head into Tuesday’s legislative session.  

On a federal level, still no word from Treasury on additional guidance on PPP. If we hear over the weekend, we will be sure to pass that on to all of you.  

In the meantime, there seems to be a good deal of momentum to push the issue of ratio fixes on PPP to reflect less payroll related requirements and allow a higher percentage of forgiven loan dollars to use on fixed costs. Members of the Senate are sending a letter to the Treasury urging them to reduce the 75-25 percent ratio to 50-50. As our window begins to close on PPP fixes, this could offer some relief for those who have PPP loans secured and how dollars could be used and forgiven.  Congress will be back in session next week deliberating Phase IV of the CARES Act and the potential for additional relief measures.  

In VA, Arlington County announced a $1M Small Business Emergency Grant Program for businesses impacted by COVID-19, in collaboration with the Rosslyn BID and Crystal City BID.  Click here to learn more. 

We’ll be in touch, as always.  Enjoy your weekend. 

Be safe. Be kind.