Over 186K entities applied in the first 36 hours of RRF!
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The National Restaurant Association and ServSafe® released an updated version of its COVID-19 Operating Guidance incorporating new information on best practices to train staff on risk mitigation regarding the spread of COVID-19. The Operating Guidance continues to incorporate the latest information from sources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
Key updates on employee training and education include:
“Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolution of learnings shared by the scientific community and governing bodies, it is important that operators prioritize staff training and risk mitigation regarding the spread of COVID-19,” said Larry Lynch, senior vice president of Science and Industry for the National Restaurant Association. “The foodservice industry is a leader in adapting and training employees in best practices for food safety and this COVID-19 training is an extension of those best practices. It’s essential that owners and operators operationalize this training and revisit it with staff frequently.”
This is the fifth version of the COVID-19 Operating Guidance since it was released by the Association and ServSafe in April 2020. In addition, ServSafe has made available free training videos to provide hands-on, educational resources on COVID-19 best practices for restaurant and foodservice workers covering topics such as conflict de-escalation, safe reopening, takeout and delivery.
Download the latest COVID-19 Operating Guidance here.
Today, the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) began accepting grant applications. Tom Bené, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association released the following statement about the launch of the federal relief program:
“Today’s launch of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund provides long-awaited hope for tens of thousands of restaurants who are on a long path to recovery. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has done admirable work in creating a totally new relief program in just two months, and we appreciate our strong partnership with them.
“The question on the minds of many is what happens when applications outpace the available funds. Restaurants are operating in an uncertain environment, with continued needs to restore customer confidence in their safety and to bring workers back into the economy. We will continue to work with policymakers to secure a comprehensive set of solutions, including additional funding for the RRF.”
The restaurant industry has been the hardest hit during the pandemic. Between March 2020 and April 2021, restaurant and foodservice sales were down $280 billion from expected levels and 110,000 restaurants have closed permanently or long-term. For nearly 15 months, securing industry-specific recovery grants has been the primary goal of the National Restaurant Association.
Because funds are limited, the Association encourages all eligible applicants to apply as soon as possible. While priority groups will have 21 days of priority access, applications from all eligible applicants will not be ruled ineligible if they apply during the prioritization period. The SBA will coordinate the time of submission to determine the order of grant distribution.
Resources for operators:
Mayor Cantrell announced effective Friday, April 30, at 6 a.m., restaurants may increase capacity from 75 percent to 100 percent with social distancing of 6 feet between tables and masking. In addition, group size for indoor events may increase to 250 people and outdoor events may increase to 500 individuals, with social distancing and masking.
For the time being, the mask mandate will remain in effect in Orleans Parish. For more information, please visit ready.nola.gov here. As a reminder, please encourage your team members to get vaccinated. For information about vaccinations, click here.
The crawfish are plentiful, business is booming but the staffing challenge is real here in Bayou country. The temperatures are heating up and restrictions have been eased as more folks are vaccinated. In recent weeks, we’ve seen capacity increase from 75 to 100 percent (although social distancing between tables is still in effect). On Tuesday, while I was in Baton Rouge for LRA Day at the Capitol, and prior to his afternoon press conference, the Governor hinted (and later announced) that he was lifting the statewide mask mandate.
For restaurateurs, that puts the ball in our court. We have to consider whether a masking policy for our staff and customers will hinder or increase our business and the spread of COVID. While the virus seems here to stay, hospitalizations and positivity rates are down statewide, and slowly, more and more among us are getting vaccinated—signaling the next chapter in our lives is approaching.
In May, the Bayou Chapter Board will convene for our first in-person meeting since this all began. We will begin planning for our Bayou Culinary Showcase and other chapter functions to kick off late summer. Save the date for the LRA Showcase in New Orleans August 7-8, which I envision as the best reunion our industry has ever seen. Let's toast to the LRA’s 75th anniversary and look towards a brighter future!
Until we see each other in person again, my best.
LRA Bayou Chapter President
As we approach the May 3 launch of the Restaurant Relief Fund grant program, we and the National Restaurant Association want to ensure you have every resource to be prepared.
In addition to a major update to the FAQ document, a new, step-by-step tutorial on how to complete the RRF grant application is now available. Finally, there is an online library of webinars with the SBA that breaks down the RRF program and explains what applicants need to know.
The Baton Rouge Metro Council approved an amendment that will allow for curbside delivery of alcohol in manufactured sealed containers.
The LRA Advocacy Team has worked this issue over the last four months with a fellow lobbyist, Councilmembers Moak and Dunn, and the Parish Attorney to achieve this result. The focus being to provide restaurants additional opportunity for revenue.
These restrictions were originally passed in the 90s as a tactic to reduce DUIs and open containers. Ride services like Uber and Lyft have favorably impacted this issue.
The Advocate Baton Rouge story "Booze to-go is here to stay: Extension of alcohol takeout, delivery OK'd in Baton Rouge" quotes LRA President and CEO Stan Harris:
"While the COVID operating restrictions are being eased, our members lost over a full year of normal revenue. The approval of this amendment will allow them to continue to recover revenue and hopefully sustain their business operations."
The LRA SIF for Workers’ Compensation seeks an Assistant Underwriter who is highly skilled, detailed oriented and self-motivated. In this position, you will play a key role in performing various administrative and analytical tasks. The coordinator processes underwriting submissions, policy quotes, non-pay and member-requested cancellations. Responds to all LRA SIF member and staff inquiries regarding underwriting, premium payment(s) and policy status. Processes incoming and outgoing mail into the database.
The position requires excellent communication, computer skills, organization and adaptability. 2+ years of experience in underwriting or audit experience, a P&C insurance license and WITS experience preferred or equivalent combination of education and experience.
Compensation will be based on experience and includes an hourly rate, potential annual bonus incentive, group benefits (e.g., medical, dental, life, LTD, 401k), paid holidays and Paid Time Off (PTO). Interested candidates should submit their resume and a cover letter including to email@example.com.