Coronavirus Update 3/30/20
Beer and wine to go still not signed into law.
Both the House and the Senate have passed the following language. However, it is part of a larger piece of legislation that has not yet made it to the Governor's desk for his signature. As soon as this bill gets to his desk and he signs it, the legislation will become law.
We hope our elected officials recognize that time is off the essence and their delays are only hurting an industry that has been besieged by COVID-19.
Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, during the governor’s March 10, 2020 declaration of a state of emergency, an establishment licensed to sell alcoholic beverages or only wines and malt beverages on-premises may sell wine or malt beverages only for off-premises consumption subject to the following conditions: (i) the wine or malt beverage shall not be sold to a person under 21 years of age; provided, however, that any delivery of wine or malt beverages for off-premises consumption shall not be made without verification that the person receiving the order has attained 21 years of age; (ii) the wine shall be sold in its original, sealed container and the malt beverage shall be sold in a sealed container; (iii) the wine or malt beverage shall be sold as part of the same transaction as the purchase of food; provided, however, that any order that includes wine or malt beverages shall be placed not later than the hour of which the establishment is licensed to sell alcohol or 12:00 midnight, whichever time is earlier; and (iv) a customer shall be limited to 192 ounces of malt beverage and 1.5 liters of wine per transaction.
Do you feel overwhelmed about the amount of information and the action steps necessary regarding COVID Phase 3?
You are not alone. There are far more questions than answers surrounding the implementation of COVID Phase 3 (Cares Act). Treasury officials are still trying to interpret the 880 page bill that was signed into law on Friday afternoon. Once the Treasury is prepared to implement the law, that will begin the process of distributing the necessary information to the local lenders. Do not be disheartened to hear back from your local bank that they have no idea what you are talking about.
The SBA has fifteen days to implement regulations from the time the law has been signed. While, we expect the implementation process to be expedited, nothing can happen until that process has completed and local lenders are informed of the next steps that they need to take.
Operators should be prepared (payroll, mortgage, rent information ready to go), but the best advice is to press pause until local lenders are ready to roll the applications into place.
We will be having webinars and guidance documents, as soon as they are available.
Will restaurants be able to re-open on April 7th?
There has not been a specific announcement from Governor Baker; however it was announced last week that schools will be closed until May 4th, and last night the President announced that "social distancing measures should continue through April." We expect to have an announcement from the Administration very soon (as early as tomorrow) that will move the re-open date for Massachusetts' restaurants back. We have made clear to the Governor's office that restaurants will need time and certain steps will need to be completed before being able to re-open. Communication to the restaurant industry is important to ensure smooth transition for everybody coming back on-line.
FDA guidance on food safety during emergencies
Best safety practices for delivery and takeout in the COVID-19 age
Nation's Restaurant News article with Mandy Sedlak, food safety and public health manager for
Ecosure division, to offer her expert advice.