National Restaurant Association to Governors Association: Don’t Make Us Scapegoats

COVID-19, Restaurant Industry News,

Stop using restaurants as a scapegoat for reflexive shutdowns.

  • That was my message in a letter to the National Governors Association and U.S. Conference of Mayors earlier this week. The letter noted that from the outset of the pandemic, restaurants have built upon existing safe operating practices by adding new and enhanced protocols designed to keep guests and employees safe.
  • Employee health checks, hand hygiene, and surface cleaning and sanitizing were already in place, and the Association’s COVID-19 Safe Operating Guidance enhanced these practices to require face coverings for staff, request face coverings for guests, add more frequent hand sanitizing, provide guests with hand sanitizers, and increase frequency of cleaning and sanitizing high-touch surfaces. Restaurants also updated their floorplans to ensure social distancing of at least six feet between guests.
  • As the scientific research behind COVID-19 continues to develop, our food safety team has collaborated with regulatory authorities across the country to establish industry best practices rooted in science. To date, we have not found any systemic outbreaks of COVID-19 from the hundreds of thousands of restaurants around the country that operate within the Association’s guidance and follow local public health and safety regulations.
  • We called on governors and mayors to use science-based evidence when closing businesses. We also urged greater transparency in the process. When restrictive regulations are imposed, like capacity restrictions or shutdowns, it should be made clear which health metrics must be achieved before returning to the previous level. Additionally, we asked that restaurant operations be treated the same as other retail establishments. Shutting down indoor dining should be considered a last option. 
  • Helping restaurants get the resources they need to continue safe operations remains our top priority. We will continue to push back on these draconian measures that unfairly target restaurants and harm our communities.
  • Watch coverage of the letter on “Opening Bell” (begins at the 33:15 mark) and on “Varney & CO.”