The statewide order providing for to-go alcohol sales, allowed by Governor Edwards under his multiple emergency proclamations, has expired as of May 26, 2021. This provided a lifeline to our restaurants and bars to generate income during the pandemic. Please refer to your local ordinances to determine your ability to offer alcoholic beverages to go.
Additionally, restaurants may continue to offer sales of wine, sparkling wine and beer in the original manufacturer sealed container with restaurant food under the existing delivery statute. Should a restaurant choose to deliver with its own staff, it will need to acquire a permit from the state (and local where required) Alcohol and Tobacco Control. You may also contract with a third party delivery service to deliver product on your behalf.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) this Monday shut down the process to receive new applications for the RRF. The SBA testified on Wednesday and gave some remarkable data on the state of the program and its popularity.
Clearly, the $50 billion shortfall in available funds means that many of the priority applications will not receive grants, and likely most of the non-priority ones.
We are working with the NRA and sponsors of the RESTAURANTS Act on legislation that would provide an infusion of new dollars into the RRF program. This would allow continued relief grants to be distributed to an industry that remains incredibly vulnerable as we reopen our doors.
The framework of the plan will be unveiled shortly after the Memorial Day weekend. We will generate grassroots support in asking Republicans and Democrats in Congress to cosponsor this needed plan. It will be an uphill climb to get both the attention of Congress and agreement that our industry deserves additional funding.
This week the NRA and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants released a “RRF Expense Tracker” to help grantees more easily document their use of funds in specific categories. The budget tool is essential for restaurants to monitor RRF eligible expenses.
Mayor Cantrell announced updated guidelines for the City of New Orleans to go into effect this Friday, May 28 at 6 am. Businesses will be provided the flexibility to set their regulations to align with the following:
Governor Edwards announced that while the state's COVID-19 public health proclamation will be extended, most of the remaining restrictions will be lifted including business capacity and crowd size guidance.
Local governments and businesses are allowed to set tighter restrictions should they choose to do so. Masks remain strongly recommended for those not fully vaccinated.
For the full press release, click HERE.
Exciting news! Our chapter recently hosted its first in-person fundraiser/ event since the onset of the pandemic. The golf tournament went off flawlessly due to the efforts of the entire board. Special THANKS to Britney Ford (Chapter Coordinator) and Hudson Lemoine (Golf Tournament Chair).
The tournament was held on March 29 at the University Club of Baton Rouge, and we raised a total of $42,139.76! Out of an abundance of caution, the tournament committee initiated additional safety precautions this year including contactless registration and elimination of the after party following the tournament. Moving forward, we are considering incorporating technology such as Event Groove or Rally Up to further streamline the process.
Since we were the first chapter to host a fundraiser in over a year, the board felt it important we contribute the proceeds to the LRAEF and Hospitality Political Action Committee, designating $20,000 to each organization.
Thanks to all chapter members, and I look forward to seeing everyone at an in-person event soon.
President Biden recently signed into law the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act (S. 578), which requires that sesame be labeled as an allergen on packaged foods. Sesame would become the ninth food allergen that FDA requires on label. Sesame is often used when a label reads “natural flavors” or “natural spices”. The bill also establishes a risk-based scientific process and framework for establishing additional allergens covered by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
While it does not require restaurants to label sesame on their menus, it will put pressure on the states to add sesame to their allergen requirements for restaurants, which can be difficult. The legislation allows for a long implementation which will help restaurants at the state level and gives two years for the packaging changes to occur.
Please find more information here.
A new resource is available for operators who received an RRF grant to ensure they are complying with the regulations. The SBA is beginning to fund eligible businesses with Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants, starting with $2 billion delivered as early as today.
To support grant recipients plan their RRF grant use and ensure compliance, “Next Steps Guide” to RRF is now available. Demonstrating the proper use of funds strictly on eligible expenses both safeguards program integrity and helps restaurants pursue additional funding for unfunded grant applicants. The document can help grant recipients: