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March 25, 2020 - The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has had an immediate impact on businesses and more repercussions are to come, particularly for restaurants, hotels, food distributors, retailers, and other vendors that service the hospitality industry. Below are some potential solutions that can assist hospitality owners with cashflow in the coming months. Defer Tax Payments Both the federal and state governments have issued guidance regarding extended due dates for paying certain taxes, which could help business owners temporarily preserve some of their cashflow. Below is summary of the...
March 19, 2020 - As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread, restaurants are being restricted to carryout and delivery service, while many others are closing their businesses entirely during this period. As a result, much of restaurants’ food inventory may spoil and end up getting trashed. Restaurant owners should strongly consider donating their food inventory to a charitable organization, as this will not only help many people in a time of need, but will result in a special and advantageous treatment by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to Internal Revenue...
As labor costs continue to rise for most hospitality owners, as well as employers in other industries, there is a tax credit available that can assist in mitigating some of the labor costs to the business owner. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is available to business owners on qualified first- and/or second-year wages that are paid to employees from select targeted groups. To claim the credit, the employer must ask for and be issued a certification from each employee from the state workforce agency. The certification proves that the employee is a member of a targeted group. Examples of...
May 18, 2020 - On the evening of May 15, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released Form 3508, Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application. The forgiveness application form, which includes instructions and worksheets, represents a significant advance in the official guidance on PPP loan forgiveness. As we continue to dig in to the details, here are some high-level observations: 75% Rule: Based on the wording of prior guidance, some had speculated that the 75% rule could result in no (i.e. $0) PPP loan forgiveness, if less than 75% of a borrower’s loan...
Hearts are heavy this morning. We know so many of you as an industry and as individuals are speaking up and taking action against injustice in your own ways and are working hard to be leaders for what is right.  We are here standing in solidarity with all of you who stand for much needed systemic change. All of us who live and work in this region celebrate the fact that DC is a place where people gather, sometimes by the hundreds of thousands and even millions of people to stand up for what they believe in, march, peacefully demonstrate, and work hard to have their voices heard time and...
Sunday night in the District protests continued and several business areas were vandalized.  The City urges that businesses and individuals should be prepared to take precautionary measures today and tomorrow, and potentially as the week stretches on.  The protests have taken on many forms, and although over 90% has been peaceful protesting, there are additional layers creating unrest in the evening hours.  We encourage you to stay safe and take the necessary precautions to protect your businesses and employees.  Today, June 1st, Mayor Bowser announced that DC will be...
Today, Friday, May 29th, marks the first stage of reopening across the region.  We want to make sure you are armed with all the information you need so we can safely enter this next phase together.  As promised, below is more information about how you can register for the use of public and private space for outdoor dining.  In DC, you can register for public and private space outdoor patios by clicking here. In Virginia, you can register for a temporary permit for the use of private space, or learn more about use of public and private outdoor spaces in these jurisdictions...
As you consider reopening and are making plans to get your restaurant ready, it is important to ensure you know the proper protocol if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. Our local Mayor and Governors have all warned that as the region begins to reopen, cases will rise, so you need to know the immediate steps to take.  Steps to Take if an Employee Tests Positive:  Step One: Call your local Department of Health and report the case. They can also provide specific guidance for your restaurant on how to handle operations and disinfecting. DC DOH, VDH, MDH. Step Two:...
As Friday’s planned reopening in Northern Virginia and the District is upon us, we are sharing quick updates, reminders, and resources as you make your plans.  DC - Stage 1 Reopening - Friday May 29 Today, Mayor Bowser released the official order permitting reopening of the District under Stage 1 guidelines on Friday, May 29th. Click here for the Order.  Click here for the NEW Stage 1 Restaurant Guidance. As we expected, the Stage 1 Order includes that taverns, nightclubs and mixed-use facilities that serve food, and that are already approved to provide such outdoor service...
Dear Operator,  Heading into this week I know you all have your heads in reopening as most of the Metro Area moves into phase/stage one at the end of the week or early next week.  That transition is equal parts a welcome relief and a new and difficult challenge for those who are choosing to utilize available outdoor space.  On Friday, we tackled many of your issues on DC’s reopening and shared resources and tools (see here) as you plan for these upcoming transitions.  Today, Mayor Bowser gave a situational update and indicated that reopening in Stage 1 is still...
Executive Order Number 63 (2020) Order of Public Health Emergency Five: Requirement to Wear Face Covering While Inside Buildings  Importance of the Issue The Commonwealth of Virginia continues to respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic. Measures undertaken over the last ten weeks have slowed the spread of the virus; however, its transmission continues to threaten our communities. We must remain vigilant. In fact, as we reopen Virginia, it is critical that we become even more vigilant. Studies of the virus show that a substantial number of individuals with coronavirus are...
Dear Operator,  We all know that there was no handbook for Coronavirus, no roadmap for dealing with the wreckage it has caused, and we have all been reinventing the wheel every week for 10 weeks now to innovate, create, manage, and provide support for one another.  Reopening is and will be just as challenging as closing or modifying was in March.  I know many of you are concerned about areas of the restaurant portion of DC’s reopening plan, as was expected. It’s important to stress here that the guidance that was shared by Mayor Bowser on Thursday is merely that,...
Dear Operator,  On Thursday 5/21 in DC, Mayor Bowser shared the official reopening recommendations from the ReOpen DC Committee that outlines what the stages/phases of reopening will look like, and stated that barring any spikes DC could begin a phased reopening on Friday, May 29th. We continue to meet outlined markers and are 11-days into a 14-day decline that is required before entering Stage One.  Stage One will look similar to how you are currently operating with outdoor on-premise dining permitted with physical distancing and safeguards. Safeguards are defined as: physical...
Dear Operator,  Today was a good day for restaurants in DC. The Council passed legislation that clarified the timeline, mechanism and relief tied to the Tenant Payment Plan (TPP) which requires landlords to provide payment plans for rent due during the health emergency. This will allow the payment of missed or late rent due during the health emergency to be paid within one year. This applies to all retailers plus all commercial property under 6,500 sqft. This will go into effect when the Mayor signs the legislation, and we will keep you posted on when that occurs and what you should be...
Good Afternoon Operator,  We have received some additional PPP guidance from the SBA which released its first public version of the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application. Click here for the application and instructions. REMINDER: Today is the deadline for you to return PPP funds, if you decided PPP is not right for you. The application provides us with much clearer guidance on what supporting documents to gather as well as draft calculation forms to show the forgiveness calculations.   The PPP Loan Forgiveness Application was not expected to codify major changes to the PPP...
Dear DC Operator,  As we head into the weekend, I wanted to remind you of specific relief that was passed and signed into law by Mayor Bowser earlier this week.  This is relief that your restaurant or operation can take advantage of RIGHT NOW.  Below is a breakdown of what is in effect with applicable amendments made by ABRA.   Cap on Third-Party Delivery Fees: Commissions payable to third-party delivery companies are limited to 15% during Mayor’s Public Health Emergency, which is currently set to expire on June 8th. We are working to extend this beyond the...
Good Morning Operators, We are shifting gears a bit today to discuss the first step of a multi-part consumer facing marketing campaign. As we continue to gain new insight from leaders across the region on the WHEN of reopening, we are beginning our own gradual efforts of HOW industry messaging and marketing tied to all the phases of recovery will unfold.   We’ve been mentioning this multi phase campaign to you rooted in 1) Gratitude, 2) Public Trust & Best Practices, and lastly 3) Recovery & Dining Out.  We will be kicking off Part 1 of this campaign...
Dear Operator,  As we await major changes to PPP with Congress considering the HEROES Act and a potential vote on it tomorrow as Speaker Pelosi brings the bill to the floor, there is a quick PPP update that is relevant for businesses that were approved for PPP. The Treasury Department extended the deadline for decisions to return PPP funds through Monday 5/18, from the previous deadline which was today, 5/14.  For anyone who has received a PPP loan and is still deciding if PPP is right for you, you now have several more days to review your situation and make a choice. Click here...
OPENTABLE OPERATOR INSIGHTS As restaurant doors reopen, chefs will be at the stove, people will fill tables (even if they are a few more feet apart), and community will matter more than ever. Whether you’ve been closed for weeks or offering only takeout and delivery, OpenTable is here to help you welcome back guests and rebuild your business. Set up to reopen For a successful reopening, you’ll want to make sure your books are open, your staff is ready, and guests know about your offerings and the measures you’re taking to ensure a safe dining environment. Find the...
The restaurant industry is being hit hard by COVID-19 with millions of hospitality workers out of work. OpenTable is committed to supporting the restaurant community and we recognize the road to recovery will be long and difficult. That’s why we’re excited to announce two new initiatives to help restaurants successfully reopen their businesses. First, an enhanced restaurant management platform OpenTable’s software has always enabled restaurants to connect with diners to manage reservations, prepare for shifts, and maximize table availability. During the crisis, we have...
Dear Operator,  Wednesday was a busy day in terms of reopening updates throughout the region. Leaders across Metropolitan Washington are taking a similar approach to reopening that is rooted in metrics to ensure there is not an unnecessary surge in cases once reopening phases begin.  In DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the Stay at Home Order until Monday, June 8th. The Stay at Home Order was originally set to expire on Friday 5/15. This means restaurants are still only permitted to offer take out and delivery, and residents should only leave their house for essential tasks. As a...
ServSafe is committed to helping you help your members address information and training needs related to the coronavirus pandemic. Now that states are moving cautiously toward reopening businesses like restaurants and foodservice operations, we have prepared a free training video outlining the steps restaurant line level employees are encouraged to utilize in returning to full-service operations.   ServSafe Reopening Guidance: COVID-19 Precautions aligns with the content provided in the COVID-19 Reopening Guidance document created by the National Restaurant Association, ServSafe,...
Dear Operator,  Today, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order Sixty-Two, ordering specific localities in Northern Virginia to delay entering Phase One of reopening until May 28th. Executive Order Sixty-Two requires the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park; and the towns of Dumfries, Herndon, Leesburg, and Vienna (Northern Virginia Region) to remain in Phase Zero, as requested by officials in those localities, which mean businesses must continue with current status of...
FDA is providing a food safety re-opening checklist for previously closed retail food establishments or those that have been open with limited service related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This checklist addresses key food safety practices for retail food establishments to consider when re-opening and restarting operations. This is not a comprehensive list. We encourage retail food establishments to partner with local regulatory/health authorities to discuss the specific requirements for their retail food establishment prior to re-opening. Facility Operations Are signs posted on how to stop...
Dear Operator,  I hope you had a nice Mother’s Day weekend and were able to take time to pause and recognize the important people in your life. Reopening discussions are going strong across the region, and today we have more clarity about what is happening in Northern Virginia and updates for DC.  In Virginia, Governor Northam said in a press conference today that while reopening plans are moving forward for most of the state to enter Phase 1 this Friday, May 15th, Northern Virginia will likely delay reopening.  This is based on conversations the Governor had directly...

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