With the sudden and immediate impact of bar and restaurant closures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the entire industry is in their own state of emergency. From restaurant owners to bartenders, waitresses, chefs, and delivery drivers, the economic chain is weakening with each passing day. Diners, whose greatest fear used to be how long the wait time to be seated was, are now confronted with the reality that a vast number of their favorite local bars and restaurants may shut their doors for good.
There is hope that in the coming weeks and months emergency relief will help to settle the industry and resources will help to revive those businesses to a full recovery. There are a number of things that are already taking place to help speed up the healing process and several ways that customers can help.
Emergency Relief Funds
Aside from the hope by some that the federal government will step in to provide relief to the industry and its workers, there are many other groups that are helping to provide relief. Many bar and restaurant workers have put together their own relief funds and are finding ways to accept donations. The U.S. Bartenders Guild’s National Charity Foundation is raising money for its COVID-19 Relief Campaign. Jameson Irish Whiskey is matching all these donations 1 to 1, up to $100,000, until March 31.
One Fair Wage Emergency Fund distributes donations to all tipped workers, such as servers, delivery drivers, among others, across the nation. The Restaurant Worker’s Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Fund distributes money to laid-off and furloughed workers and will be offering no-interest business loans to restaurants hoping to stay open or reopen in the near future. You can help by tipping more than your normal amount to help those people who may be struggling to make ends meet with the lack of customers due to the virus. Local bars and restaurants are also trying creative ways to keep their businesses and workers afloat in these trying times.
Although your local restaurant may be closed to inside seating, consider ordering delivery or carry-out. Many establishments have converted their focus from their traditional dining experience to offering more carry-out and delivery options. Several food delivery services have suspended their delivery fees to encourage people to continue their patronage of the restaurant industry. Many high-end restaurants have created to-go menus that allow those looking for more elevated cuisine to have a fine dining experience right in their own homes.
Dining Bonds and Gift Cards
A relatively new way to help these businesses is by using Dining Bonds. Similar to gift cards, customers would purchase a dining bond for a specific amount, such as $50, and the bond would be available for use at a later date for an increased value, such as $75. This helps to get money into the business now, at the time where they need it the most. Gift cards to local and nationally chained bars and restaurants also help in the same way.
Whether you are ordering delivery or carry-out, keep yourself and family safe following all necessary precautions.