In the wake of a national pandemic, CT Governor Ned Lamont ordered all public gathering places including restaurants, bars, gyms, and movie theatres to close their doors at 8 pm on Monday, March 16th. This is one of many continued efforts to reduce the spread of the deadly virus COVID-19. The decision was made in a tri-state effort with New York and New Jersey to help keep citizens safe.
As part of the national emergency stimulus package, a new bill entitled “coronavirus preparedness and response supplemental appropriation act”, small business owners across the U.S. may qualify for a federal disaster loan. The package offers an up to $2,000,000 dollar low-interest loan to small businesses that meet the criteria.
To qualify, at least 5 businesses per county must provide documentation of business losses that are directly related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
While business owners have a relief system in place, times have been somewhat harder for the service industry professionals who have been laid off. While the stimulus package does include expanded unemployment benefits for workers who have been laid off in any industry, a bartender, server, or busser can easily earn an average of $40 per hour when including tips and wages, leading to a far larger paycheck than what unemployment benefits will provide.
For customers, the good news is the majority of restaurants are still offering takeout and delivery. No more than five customers can enter a location at one time. These customers must keep a six-foot distance between each other.
While this system is working well for more casual fare, it has heavily impacted the fine dining industry. Many restaurants, although allowed to be open for takeout or delivery, have had to shut their doors due to the low return on investments during business hours.