The Louisiana Restaurant Association, under the guidance of LRA President and CEO Stan Harris, is urging New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell to align with the state’s COVID guidelines, allowing the industry to begin rebuilding from lost opportunity the pandemic has delivered, through no fault of its own.
Governor John Bel Edwards has followed the science and the data removing the State’s previous percentage of occupancy restriction and its prior limit on cut-off time for alcohol service. His order retained the mask mandate and six foot social distancing requirements.
“Our hospitality industry was asked to close, operate to-go, delivery or curbside, return to limited capacity and adapt to help flatten the curve and reduce the impact to our hospital capacity,” explained Harris. “We’ve been working recently to encourage our industry team members to embrace the available COVID vaccines to further limit spread of this virus.”
New Orleans has generated the some of the best outcomes statewide related to positivity, new cases (less than 20 per day average) and COVID-related hospitalizations. We enjoy these outcomes due to the support of the restaurants, bars and hotels through their food and beverage outlets.
“It is now time to allow these businesses to enjoy the same approach to COVID mitigation our other 63 parishes in the State are allowed to follow,” said Harris.
President Biden released his America Jobs Plan (summary attached) aimed at building our nation’s infrastructure. While the $2.25 trillion legislation will cover a variety of initiatives, the National Restaurant Association is particularly interested in the following provisions. The Administration also plans a second major package next month focused on social measures, including expanding health care and paid-leave access and extending the child tax credit.
While the Association supports the Administration’s efforts to improve our nation’s infrastructure, we are concerned about current tax provisions and provisions encouraging passage of the PRO Act, which would negatively affect restaurant companies. As this proposal moves forward, we will keep you updated on provisions that could affect our industry and our work with Congress and the Administration. Please let us know your thoughts on the proposal as well after you have a chance to review and digest.
Small Business and Workforce Development
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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) confirmed that applicants for the Restaurant Revitalization Grant (RRG) program will not need to register for a DUNS number or on SAM.gov. This is a change from early March, when it was expected that applications would require this process as they currently do under the Shuttered Venues Operators (SVO) grant program. The shift by SBA recognized the significant demand for the RRG program – up to hundreds of thousands of applicants are expected – and the voice of SRAs/Association who asked SBA to streamlined & simplify the application process to avoid administrative complexity. We thank you for sharing your member feedback with us and are optimistic this demonstrates the SBA is creating a user-friendly, efficient application process.
We will continue to share application updates as they develop and additional key details.
Governor Edwards announced that he will remove the COVID-related capacity restrictions for restaurants and bars. However, removing the percentage restriction will not eliminate the required 6 ft. social distancing. The 11 p.m. restriction on alcohol sales is also removed. Local ABO service times will now be in effect.
The mask mandate remains in place until further notice.
Events or group gatherings will increase to 500 people from 250, or 50 percent capacity with 6 ft. social distancing. There is no limit on individuals for outdoor events, however social distancing must remain in place.
Bars can operate with no capacity limitations, and service over the bar is allowed. However, guests seating is limited to tables only, and no standing room without 6 ft. social distancing. All bar patrons must be 21 years or older.
Finally, we encourage our LRA Members to promote vaccinations for their team members. If you need to find a location near you, please click here.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
Operators found clever ways to survive last year, and their actions confirm 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry trend data.
Famous Dave’s cleared entries for social distancing, partitioned POS counters and placed hand sanitizing stations throughout. The 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report (the Report) identifies the data on COVID-19’s impact on restaurants, the operational and menu trends that have helped struggling restaurants survive the year, and the intentions of operators and consumers going forward.
Looking at operations across the country, the Association pulled together a roundup of some of the best efforts and clever innovations independents and multiunit operators put in motion to keep serving customers.
Get more information on these data points and other findings in our 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry report
When waits got long for to-go orders at the beginning of the pandemic, Fazoli’s moved cashiers outside to take orders on tablets in advance of the order screen.
The City of New Orleans' renewal deadline for Alcohol Beverage Operator (ABO) permits is being extended again, from April 1, 2021, to June 30, 2021. As part of this extension, all delinquency penalties set forth in 10-123(a)-(d) shall be waived until June 30, 2021. Any application submitted after June 30, 2021, shall be subject to delinquency penalties calculated as specified in the statute from five days after June 30, 2021.
The provision of 10-123(a) requires that a new application for licenses renewed after June 30 shall be extended through Aug. 31, 2021, such that any renewal submitted before that date for 2021 applications may be submitted on a 2021 ABO Renewal Form rather than a new ABO Application Form. Finally, all delinquency penalties for 2020 applications are fully waived. Application fees and all other fees still apply and may be paid in conjunction with 2021 renewal applications.
The City is processing a healthy amount of permits as the Office of Safety and Permits is open for emailed submissions. Payments are also being accepted online. Residents may also drop off payments at City Hall.
This is the third time the City has extended the renewal deadline. As we have throughout this process, we will continue to be flexible to the needs of our residents and business owners navigating the impacts of the COVID pandemic.
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022.
“Small Businesses, private nonprofits and agricultural enterprises, including those self-employed individuals, contractors and gig workers, continue to navigate a very difficult economic environment due to the continued impacts of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, as well as historic Severe Winter Storms in 2020,” SBA Administrator Tami Perrillo said.
“The COVID-19 EIDL program has assisted over 3.7 million of small businesses, including non-profit organizations, sole proprietors and independent contractors, from a wide array of industries and business sectors, through this challenging time,” continued Perrillo.
SBA continues to strive to make available all previously approved Coronavirus Pandemic stimulus funding and administer the new targeted programs related to provisions in the 2020 Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (the Economic Aid Act) as quickly as possible.
“The American people and the nation’s Small Business owners need our tireless effort and dedication to get this essential funding to those in great need, and SBA will not rest until we implement President Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” and its’ additional targeted programs and funds allocated for America’s small business and nonprofit communities,” said SBA Senior Advisor Michael Roth .
COVID-19 EIDL loans are offered at very affordable terms, with a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% interest rate for nonprofit organizations, a 30-year maturity. Interest continues to accrue during the deferment period and borrowers may make full or partial payments if they choose.
In mid-February 2021, SBA reached a milestone in the success of the COVID-19 EIDL program, by approving over $200 billion in emergency funding in low-interest loans, providing working capital funds to small businesses, non-profits and agricultural businesses to survive the severe impacts of this catastrophic and historic period within the entire United States of America and its territories. SBA continues to approve over $500 million each week for the COVID-19 EIDL program.
As New Orleans begins to experience spring weather, the City of New Orleans reminds local bar and restaurant owners about the Parklet Pilot Program. One component of the City’s Outdoor Dining initiative, the Parklet Pilot Program allows restaurants and bars to utilize on-street parking spaces in front of their restaurants and bars for additional seating. This can provide additional safe dining spaces for restaurants and bars while indoor occupancy limits are reduced due to COVID-19 restrictions. The permit application fee and meter rental fee have been waived until June 30, 2021. More information is available at www.nola.gov/parklets.
The Parklet Pilot Program has been available citywide since the end of October 2020 and is expected to run for as long as there are COVID-related occupancy restrictions in restaurants and bars. After that, the City is expecting to launch a permanent parklet program. Details regarding the transfer from pilot to permanent parklet program will be released as the permanent program is developed, but it will require re-permitting. The City will work to make that process as seamless as possible for pilot participants.
Pilot Parklets are required to provide a barrier along the active right-of-way. To aid in this expense, the City, in partnership with the New Orleans Business Alliance, has grants of up to $2,000 available to businesses on a first-come, first-served basis through April 15, 2021. Grant applications are available on outdoordiningnola.com.
PILOT PARKLET PROGRAM OVERVIEW:
HOW TO APPLY:The City will be accepting applications for the pilot program through the City’s One Stop Shop at https://onestopapp.nola.gov. If necessary, applications can instead be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Review the Pilot Program application requirements and a step-by-step overview of the process at www.nola.gov/parklets and view a copy of the application here.