SURVIVAL TOOLS NEEDED for RESTAURANTS and BARS
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Restaurant and Bar Industry Leaders Release Demands in Response to New COVID-19 Restrictions
Coalition of Restaurant & Bar Owners and Advocates call for immediate assistance and guideline changes to weather the winter season
For Immediate Release
Monday, December 14, 2020
Contact: Andy McDowell, 917-579-3444
New York, NY - Today, a coalition of restaurant & bar owners and industry advocates released a set of demands in response to new COVID-19 restrictions, with immediate needs for small business support.
Industry leaders are calling on Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to immediately enact the following measures:
Remove 10pm curfew for outdoor dining, alcohol takeout, alcohol delivery. This curfew is unnecessary and has significantly cut into the already meager revenue stream of our businesses.
Amend problematic guidelines for roadside seating structures. Industry stakeholders have prepared improved guidelines and ask that these be reviewed and adopted. The current guidelines, such as the need to fill barriers with 10,000 lbs - 20,000 lbs of sand or soil, are not possible to meet and present many logistical hurdles. There exist applicable and enforceable solutions that meet or exceed the same safety standards. In particular, we are referring to measures for impact resistance and improved air flow / open wall percentage.
Extend the deadline for compliance of roadside seating structures from December 15th, 2020 to January 4th, 2021. Given the current, detrimental guidelines for roadside seating structures, there is an immediate need to amend the guidelines. After such an amendment is adopted and disseminated, businesses must be allowed time to complete their compliance work.
Offer metrics for reopening or re-closing any aspect of hospitality operations. We need to be able to plan our operations and be clued in to the possibilities ahead of us.
Comprehensive contact tracing requirements. In the name of more complete science and more equitable treatment across the commercial landscape, the requirement to collect contact tracing information from customers should apply to a far more broad group of business types.
Unify the inspection force to avoid ambiguous and inconsistent enforcement. There has been a major problem from the inception of Covid era enforcement of inconsistent inspections. The resulting confusion for business owners presents a very significant burden to operators and managers already struggling with heavy workloads and changing regulations.
End the practice of merging city agency violations, such as DOHMH, DOT, and DOB, with New York State Liquor Authority. NYSLA fines and punishment are very steep and affect the future stability of our businesses. Violations unrelated to alcohol service and commensurate food requirement guidelines should not fall under the purview of or in any way be connected to the NYSLA. Businesses should not be risking a large SLA fine, license suspension, and/or a strike against a liquor license for an offense not directly related to that agency’s jurisdiction. Furthermore, the approach of using inspections for education and guidance as opposed to the issuance of violations is much appreciated.
We are industry professionals who have been taking the pandemic very seriously, adopting all appropriate protocols and caring for staff and customers with great care. Our government has been reckless in its treatment of our industry, with very costly results. The closures and job losses are staggering. The latest data concerning Covid spread, attributing approximately 1.5% of infections to our industry vs over 70% attributed to private gatherings, demonstrates that there has been an overzealous focus on the restaurant and bar industry as a key source of spread. Now, as we continue our struggle to stay open and survive, we ask in very urgent terms that our government leaders step up and make important corrections to save our industry and help us weather the next few months.
There exist far bigger issues for our industry to resolve than those listed here, but these immediate considerations will help us now.
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