Just last week the prospect of tens of thousands of bars and restaurants around the country suddenly closing down, indefinitely, felt like a distant one. Yet, as of today, small businesses around the country have made sacrifices that jeopardize their survival and the livelihoods of their employees in the name of larger civic duty.
Our mission at PUNCH has always been deeply enmeshed with the restaurant and bar worlds that we cover every day. Our publication does not exist without this passionate and dedicated group of bartenders, barbacks, owners and operators. Now it’s our time to show our support in a different way. Over the next few weeks, effective immediately, we will shift our focus to supporting the community that has, since day one, supported us. With the help of industry leaders across the country, we will be updating this page daily with stories and resources to connect members of the community with one another, and to surface clear and accurate information regarding financial relief.
To our consumer and enthusiast readers: While you may not be able to go out and pull up a stool at your favorite bar tonight, that doesn’t mean you can’t support the community. In the coming days, we will be rolling out a “tip your bartender” program via our Instagram feed (@punch_drink) that will allow you to engage with bartenders across the country and, if you are able to, give back. We are also working directly with the Restaurant Workers’ Community Fund (RWCF) and their board, as well as our Bartender In Residence alumni, to create a Bartender In Residence Relief Fund that benefits the bartenders and support staff who need it most.
In the meantime, RWCF has a constantly updated list of resources for small businesses and individuals who are looking for help with everything from loan forgiveness to applying for unemployment benefits. If you have information that would benefit the community, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share it.
Those who have worked in, or covered, bars and restaurants through 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 recession, Hurricane Sandy, the California wildfires and Hurricane Harvey know what a strong, bonded community we are when times get tough. Now is no exception and we’re here to work together through the uncertain days ahead.
Where Can I Donate?
Donate to Restaurant Workers Community Foundation. RWCF is a New York-based 501c3 non-profit that is directing contributions to organizations leading on-the-ground efforts in the restaurant community, providing zero-interest loans to businesses to maintain payroll and establishing a relief fund for individuals experiencing economic hardship.
Donate to the United States Bartenders Guild. The USBG National Charity’s Bartender Emergency Assistance Program is collecting donations to support their philanthropic grant program providing assistance to bartenders and their families in need. (Recipients of the grant do not need to be members of the USBG. For more info on how to apply for a grant see here.)
Donate to One Fair Wage. OFW’s Emergency Coronavirus Tipped and Service Worker Support Fund provides cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more unable to work in 11 states. (For more info on how to apply for a grant see here.)
Donate to Another Round Another Rally. ARAR is a Phoenix-based 501c3 non-profit that raises emergency funds for hospitality workers, and provides $500 grants from their Hospitality Tip Jar fund. (For more info on how to apply for a grant see here.)
How Else Can I Help?
- Buy gift certificates, merchandise and other goods from bars and restaurants you love.
- Purchase pre-made cocktails for pick-up or delivery.
- Join a wine club from your local shop.
- Order pick-up or delivery from your favorite restaurants, wine stores and bottle shops.
- Fire up a virtual happy hour, pour yourself a drink and check in on your friends.
- Restaurant Industry-Focused Webinar via James Beard Foundation
- Family Medical Leave Act FAQ via U.S. Department of Labor
- Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources via U.S. Department of Labor
- Crisis Management for Restaurants via OpenTable
- Hospitality-Focused Wellness and Mental Health Resources via Restaurant After Hours
- COVID-19 Related Individual and Small Group Market Insurance Coverage via Medicare and Medicaid
- Business Interruption Insurance Guidelines via Zenefits
- Public Health Emergency-Related Fair Labor Standards FAQ via U.S. Department of Labor
- Credit Card Assistance Programs via Bankrate
- Dining Bonds Initiative via Support Restaurants
- New York State Unemployment Assistance Impacted workers can check their eligibility (and apply) for unemployment insurance here.
- Southern Smoke Foundation A non-profit emergency relief fund for impacted workers in Houston with a fully anonymous application process.
- Louisiana Workforce Commission Unemployment Assistance Impacted workers and employers can check their eligibility (and apply) for unemployment insurance here.
- Texas Workforce Commission Unemployment Assistance Impacted workers can check their eligibility (and apply) for unemployment insurance here.
- The Coronavirus Crisis Could Permanently Close 30 Percent of California’s Restaurants The California Restaurant Association is lobbying for more government aid regarding insurance laws, eviction policies and grants. (via Eater SF, March 31)
- ‘There’s Nothing I Wouldn’t Do at This Point’ Former restaurant workers are pivoting to high-demand jobs in grocery and delivery, but the switch hasn’t been seamless for everyone. (via Eater, March 31)
- ‘They Were Obviously Not Talking to Restaurants,’ U.S. Rep. Maloney Says After Owners Slam Stimulus At a virtual town hall, New York restaurateurs urged for more aid in the upcoming stimulus package. (via Eater NY, March 30)
- Large LA Restaurants Now Required to Pay Out Two Weeks of Sick Leave During Shutdown Businesses with more than 501 employees must provide sick leave if workers contract COVID-19. (via Eater LA, March 30)
- State data indicates the US is headed for another record unemployment week After setting a record high of unemployment claims in the wake of coronavirus, evidence shows that it could continue to worsen. (via Vox, March 29)
- If the Stimulus Package Fails Independent Restaurants, It Fails America The measures put in place to help small businesses may not be enough to save the country’s service industry. (via Eater, March 27)
- Now Is a Time of Boom and Bust for the Liquor Industry Consumers are stocking up on wine, beer and liquor by the caseful. But where they shop matters. (via Eater, March 27)
- Are Worker-Owned Restaurants Better Equipped to Weather the COVID-19 Crisis? With no bosses or board members to answer to, employee-owned businesses have the benefit of making collective decisions—but it still has its challenges. (via Eater SF, March 27)
- Everything to Know About How the $2 Trillion Stimulus Helps (and Fails) Restaurants The bill has improved provisions regarding unemployment and direct cash payments, but getting a loan may not be as straightforward. (via Eater NY, March 26)
- Some of NYC’s Top Restaurant Wine Lists Are Turning Into Bottle Shops — for Now Restaurants and bars are shifting their business models to sell their inventory of wine bottles at retail price in order to stay afloat. (via Eater NY, March 26)
- F.A.Q. on Stimulus Checks, Unemployment and the Coronavirus Bill And yes, if you’re self-employed, you’re eligible for benefits. (via NY Times, March 26)
- Congress’s $2 Trillion Relief Package Offers Hope to Restaurateurs The government’s $2 trillion stimulus includes paycheck support, forgivable small loans and expanded unemployment benefits. (via Grub Street, March 25)
- Until the Government Orders a Rent Freeze, Here’s How Restaurant Owners Should Talk to Landlords About COVID-19 It’s worth revisiting your lease, and getting an attorney. (via Eater, March 24)
- Will We Have an America Without Restaurants? Chef and restaurant owners are drawing attention to the industry’s dire need for help. (via NYTimes, March 24)
- By the Numbers: COVID-19’s Devastating Effect on the Restaurant Industry Here’s a visual look at how the food and restaurant industries have been affected by the coronavirus in the past several weeks. (via Eater, March 24)
- In China, a Glimpse at the Future of Restaurants As life returns to (almost) normal in China, Beijing restaurants have reopened—but the industry still faces many hurdles ahead. (via Eater, March 24)
- Negotiators signal deal on stimulus close and could pass Congress on Tuesday The $2 trillion stimulus package is nearly approved, after several days of Democrats pushing back for more worker protection. (via CNN, March 24)
- Why Are Insurance Companies Denying Restaurant Claims in Wake of Pandemic? Restaurant and bar owners are filing business interruption claims, but most insurance policies don’t cover pandemic-related losses. (via Eater, March 20)
- L.A. restaurant shutdown extended to April 19, all but guaranteeing the end for many businesses Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti initially mandated closures until March 31, but he has now extended the shutdown—making it nearly impossible for bars and restaurants to sustain their businesses. (via LA Times, March 20)
- Liquor Laws Loosen Up in the Face of Delivery-Only Dining In the midst of widespread bar and restaurant closures, New York, New Hampshire, Maryland, Illinois, California, Texas, Washington D.C. and the city of Atlanta now allow alcohol delivery. (via Eater March 20)
- Senate Republicans are drafting a plan to send $1,200 checks to taxpayers as part of $1 trillion rescue effort. The drafted plan includes a payment of $1,200 to individuals, $2,400 to families and an additional $500 per child. (via NYTimes, March 19)
- What Restaurants Need Right Now to Actually Survive Rent deferment, interest-free loans, immediate unemployment benefits and emergency universal basic income are some of the many priorities. (via Eater, March 19)
- Boozing in the Age of Coronavirus Bar owners are depending on delivered cocktails to help sustain their businesses in the short term. (via Eater NY, March 18)
- Registering for Unemployment Is Nearly Impossible Right Now, Restaurant Workers Say New York’s unemployment registration system cannot keep up with demand—resulting in website crashes and a shortage of telephone operators. (via Eater NY, March 18)
- Restaurants Can Now Sell Booze for Takeout and Delivery — but Only With Food, SLA Says New York’s recent change in liquor license laws still holds restrictions regarding to-go cocktails and wine bottles. (via Eater NY, March 17)
- Possible President-Backed Cash Stimulus Part of the proposed $850 billion proposal involves direct cash payments to Americans amounting to about two weeks of wages. (via NYTimes, March 17)
- Here’s How Delivery and Takeout Alcohol Sales Will Work Getting your drink to-go comes with a few rules—like ordering it with food. (via GrubStreet, March 17)
- Restaurant Industry Reacts With Fury and Dismay at Government’s Coronavirus Inaction London has enacted social distancing measures for public spaces—but with little enforcement or guidance from government. (via Eater London, March 17)
- California wineries reel after closing tasting rooms due to coronavirus For wineries that make the bulk of their revenue from on-site tastings and tours, online bottle sales and wine clubs may not be enough. (via LA Times, March 17)