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News & Press: National Restaurant Association

National Restaurant Association Coronavirus Update - March 16, 2020

Monday, March 16, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lenza Jolley
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The public health emergency around coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to expand, and the National Restaurant Association is working closely with our state restaurant association partners as well as federal, state, and local officials to support the restaurant and foodservice industry and slow the spread of the virus. As you would expect, we are updating our plans as the situation evolves almost on an hourly basis. Additionally, we are developing long-term objectives to support the businesses and financial needs of the industry in the coming weeks and months.


Every team across the Association and Foundation is supporting the industry and our ongoing COVID-19 response efforts.


Over the weekend, some states announced that restaurants would be required to close dining rooms or reduce capacity. Other jurisdictions asked residents to stay home entirely, and late last night the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended canceling events with more than 50 people for 8 weeks, noting that “This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses.”


We want to assure our members that we are working at every level of government to help minimize the impact of coronavirus on your business and to advocate for emergency legislation that is both financially feasible for the industry and provides immediate relief. Yesterday, we sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Democratic Leader Schumer urging them to change the structure of this bill to bring the administration of employee paid sick leave within the federal government and not place it on business owners. We will continue to underscore the critical role our industry plays in communities across the country and advocate for policy decisions that make sense for businesses and customers.


Click  here to ask your Senator to: Fix the coronavirus relief bill and immediately pass additional measures aimed at providing critical relief to restaurants!


We are also responding on multiple fronts to the rise in state/local governments proclaiming shutdowns in various aspects of our operations:

  • We are engaging the White House and their coronavirus response team (led by Vice President Pence) and urging that any effort here be based on science and take into account the many ways in which we serve communities (drive-through, carry-out, delivery, etc.).
  • We are developing supporting materials for our State Restaurant Association partners to use in engaging governors and local elected officials to minimize state shutdown efforts or to note alternatives to dine-in.


The Association’s COVID-19 webpage remains the best place to find the most up-to-date information, and we have red highlight bar across our homepage that directs visitors to the COVID-19 page. This page contains several resources to support the industry, including a Business Continuity Planning document as well as a compilation of expert quotes underscoring that COVID-19 is not a foodborne illness and food prepared in restaurants is safe to consume. In communities where social distancing restrictions are in place, the industry continues to serve diners with expanded delivery, takeout, and drive-through capacity.   


We also encourage you to join a member-only webinar "Coronavirus Resources: Labor and Employment Law Challenges and Obligations Facing Employers" presented live Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 2:00 pm EDT. Shannon Meade, National Restaurant Association Vice President of Public Policy and Legal Advocacy, and legal experts from the law firm Littler Mendelson will address these topics as well as additional guidance and resources for restaurant industry employers.


We will continue to update you as the situation evolves.

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