NYSRA Daily Update: COVID-19 Outbreak | March 20, 2020

State
We are happy to report that we were successful in securing several of our priorities today:  
  • After communicating our concerns, Governor Cuomo today announced that he is barring all non-essential businesses from opening. RESTAURANTS ARE NOT AFFECTED BY THIS. Restaurants have been deemed essential and can remain operating for takeout and delivery only. Tonight he has further clarified that hotels will also be considered essential. Read more here.
  • We continue to seek rent relief. Today was an important first step. Gov. Cuomo announced that the state is barring all commercial and residential evictions for 90 days.
  • The Governor’s budget director informed us that no penalties or interest will be charged to anyone who pays their sales tax late. This was a priority for the NYS Restaurant Association. We encourage you to file your state sales tax even if you are unable to pay at this time.
  • Following our request, we received an interim guidance document from the NYS Agriculture & Markets Department allowing restaurants, for a period of two weeks, using the guidance outlined herein, to operate as retail food stores without needing to apply for a retail food store license. An executive order with language covering this exemption is pending.

Federal
  • Thanks to the National Restaurant Association for inviting the State Board of Directors of the NYS Restaurant Association to listen to a small business conference call with President Trump about the federal aid package he is working on with Congress.
  • The National Restaurant Association’s Action Alert has generated more than 130,000 emails asking Members of Congress to support a Restaurant Recovery Fund. It’s not too late to act!  You can read the Action Alert here , and take action here https://actnow.io/recovery. You can also spread the message on social media using the follow hashtags and tweets:
  • “Tell Congress to support restaurants and employees. Text RECOVERY to 52886. #restaurantrecovery”
  • Click here to tell Congress to support New York restaurants and employees. #restaurantrecovery”
  • "COVID is devastating the restaurant industry. Text RECOVERY to 52886 to urge Congress to act now. #restaurantrecovery"

New York City
  • Participated in a NYC Business Coalition call with the 5 Chambers, NYC Hospitality Alliance and the Real Estate Board of NY to discuss how to better coordinate our efforts on behalf of NYC restaurants.
  • Some members of the NYC Food Advisory Group, including NYSRA, sent a letter to the NY City Council asking them to limit third party delivery to 10% for the length of this crisis.
  • The NYC DOHMH is working on a guidance document for restaurants to safely prepare food for delivery and takeout during the crisis.

Communications
  • Taped NY Now with Dan Clark. Did interviews with BronxNet TV and CNBC. 
  • Issued a statement thanking Governor Cuomo for waiving fees and penalties on sales tax payments.
  • Sent a statement to Eater about the Governor's announcement that no evictions will take place for 90 days. 
  • The New York Times’ The Daily podcast, features NYSRA member Luca Di Pietro telling his story at the 20-minute mark: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/podcasts/the-daily/jobs-economy-coronavirus.html
  • Please keep sending us information on whether you have temporarily closed or are open for takeaway and delivery. You can also update your membership profile by: 
  • Clicking here and signing in with your username and password
  • Select “Profile Update” in the blue bar at the top (middle column, second option)
  • Click the “Edit My Profile” button
  • Select “Update Your Preferences” (last option on the left)
  • Select options that apply
  • At this time, roughly 70% of the members who have responded are offering takeaway/delivery and 30% are temporarily shut down.
  • Please follow us on social media and send us your questions there. Links to our social media pages are below.