Coronavirus update 5/13/20
Massachusetts Legislative Updates
ABCC alteration of premises issue for outdoor dining
We have worked closely with a number of legislators to introduce legislation that will authorize and allow for the ABCC to defer to local municipalities regarding any alteration of premises that may be needed to expand outdoor dining opportunities. If this legislation were to become law, local license authorities would be able to grant alteration permits instantly.
Many municipalities have expressed a desire to be flexible and want to work with their licensed establishments to get them up and running. This legislation would grant them that opportunity.
3rd Party Delivery Ordinances continue to be introduced across Massachusetts
To date, ordinances have been introduced in Boston, Cambridge, Newton, Brookline and Lowell. Additionally, state-wide legislation was filed this week. 3rd party delivery fees and transparency issues have been an on-going issue for restaurant operators, and those have only been exacerbated during the COVID pandemic. The MRA highlighted these issues to elected officials in a letter last month.
Washington DC Update
"Phase Four" - Congressional COVID Response
Earlier today, House Democrats unveiled their “Phase Four” response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dubbed the “HEROES Act,” the measure has provisions that are very important to our industry (
including our approach to improving the PPP program
), and provisions that will be more challenging for us (extension of enhanced unemployment, etc).
Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring the bill to the House floor this Friday for a vote. It is assumed it will pass along largely party lines. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has endorsed the PPP changes and will seek to integrate them into anything moving in the Senate. As you have likely read, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is likely to pursue a different approach to his “Phase Four” bill.
PPP fixes included in the bill: (the first 3 bullet points
have been the centerpiece of Association advocacy efforts since problems with the PPP came to light)
- Extends “covered period” end date from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
- For rehires, the exemption is extended from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
- Loan forgiveness reductions will be “held harmless” for some employers who can demonstrate an inability to rehire or find “similarly qualified” employees before December 31, 2020.
- Some businesses receiving PPP loan forgiveness will be able to defer payment of payroll taxes.
- There has been concern of many PPP recipients that payroll taxes will be overwhelming when “hiring back” full-time equivalent employees.
- $10 billion in grants to small businesses that have suffered financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
For the National Restaurant Association's complete summary click
This video series aligns with the content provided in the COVID-19 Reopening Guidance document created by the National Restaurant Association, ServSafe, and subject matter experts.
Video topics include:
- Knowing COVID-19 symptoms and preventing its spread
- Recognizing actions to reduce risk to employees and guests
- Guidelines for face coverings, hand washing, and food handling
- Guidelines for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting
- Physical and operational changes to maintain social distancing
To view videos click
(Please know that the ServeSafe website is undergoing maintenance and may be temporarily unavailable)