Resources for Hospitality Businesses Affected by COVID-19
*Updated March 20, 2020
This page is updated daily as we continue to learn about more news and resources for businesses.
By now most of you are aware of the declaration by Mayor Cooper on March 15, 2020. Schaffer Law Firm has been working diligently to understand and communicate the facts of this declaration and what this means for our hospitality clients.
We all need to face what is inevitably going to become a reality in the coming days: a total shutdown of all restaurants and bars. We are seeing such widespread shutdowns in other cities by the hour. Now is the time to prepare for this scenario. Below is a list of resources and actions to take now to ensure the survival of your business.
MARCH 20, 2020:
Update: Beer Delivery is a Go
Brewers and bar owners – A beer delivery ordinance by the Metro Nashville Beer Board is now LIVE. What it means for you:
-You must already have an on-premise permit
-You’ll be eligible for a temporary (30-day) off-premise permit that may be extended
-Only your employees will be allowed to proceed with curbside to-go and delivery
-It’s on you to check IDs!
-Sealed containers of BEER ONLY
From the TABC, view a full list of licensed delivery providers here.
To-Go Sales for Alcohol and Spirits
15 states have currently lifted restrictions to allow to-go sales for alcohol (not beer, but any type of spirits). In Tennessee, the TABC is currently preparing something to send to the governor, but we’ll need all the support we can get. Now is the time to start calling and to let the state government know you support an executive order. We’ll continue to monitor this news and post updates as we receive them.
Happening Today: Off-Premise Permits For Breweries
Currently In Progress: The beer board is set to allow all breweries with an on-premise beer permit to have a temporary off-premise beer permit during Coronavirus shutdowns. This will allow you to deliver sealed beer under 10.1% direct to consumers. Contact Schaffer Law Firm immediately with your on-premise permit so we can fast-track your delivery access
Proper Insurance for Alcohol Deliveries
Do I need additional insurance coverage to offer to-go alcohol sales? Most likely not, but check if you have hired and non-owned auto liability. Employees need to understand their personal auto insurance is the primary, and a hired and non-owned policy is secondary. If you already sell alcohol in food, this will likely already be in place.
MARCH 19, 2020:
Opportunities for Food Trucks
If you operate a food truck or have a mobile option through your brick-and-mortar location, we highly recommend calling your nearby neighborhood associations. Coming to these neighborhoods a few days a week could be a great source of revenue right now. To park in public places, you’ll need the proper permits, but private property has limited restrictions. You are legally allowed to make arrangements with neighborhoods or private residents.
MARCH 17, 2020:
Brewery Delivery Sales As a COVID-19 Option
Breweries facing limited sales and shutdowns due to Coronavirus: We advise you to look into a delivery service. You need to ensure that you have an off-premise beer license and that you’re contracting with a delivery service that’s licensed by the TABC. This is a great way to help boost sales during this time.
MARCH 16, 2020:
Schaffer Law Firm staff and attorneys have been reaching out to clients and have been extremely moved by the number one concern amongst our hospitality client business owners: the livelihood of their employees. We have confirmed that the U.S. Department of Labor and the TN Department of Labor are taking steps to ensure your servers and bartenders will have access to some funds. Should you need to stop conducting your business, contact the TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development on behalf of your employees at 844-224-5818. Your employees are also free to call this number themselves.
Small Business Administration
The small business association has an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program in place for small businesses required to shut down due to COVID-19. The interest rate on these loans is either 0-0.25%. While we take the position to take great care when taking on debt of any kind, loans of this type could make the difference between surviving the COVID-19 pandemic or having to close the business once the crisis dissipates. We recommend applying for at least three (3) months of expenses through this program.
If you have not already done so, you should call your commercial insurance agent immediately. You need to understand what coverage you have and whether or not it is triggered by COVID-19 should you be forced to close. Ask your agent to explain what coverage you have and whether you should start the claims process now. Insurance products such as business interruption are what we are looking for in this situation.
Review Your Financial Situation
At this point, not all hospitality businesses are required to close, but does it make financial sense for your business to remain open? Are you spending more money keeping staff and ordering product than you are going to bring in at this time? The reality of the situation is society is encouraged to keep a social distance. That means you will likely see less and less people patronizing your business. If you are able to quickly mobilize a to go business, do it! If you cannot or you will spend more than you will bring in, it may make more sense to stop the bleeding now.
Talk to Your Landlord NOW
While March rent should have been paid by now, it’s time to start looking at April. Now is the time to speak with your landlord if you are asked to close your doors. This is a case-by-case basis as most if not all buildings where businesses are located are privately owned. Start the conversation now about reprieve from rent for the month of April.
This is an extremely difficult time for everyone right now. Us lawyers included! We are committed to providing as much information as we can gather to help you make the best decision for your business. All current clients are encouraged to check in with us often and not hesitate to contact us with questions. Any new or potential clients are encouraged to schedule a consultation.
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