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National Restaurant Association urges governors to reconsider restaurant business restrictions amid latest coronavirus wave

Association chief executive pens letter to National Governors Association

As the latest wave of coronavirus spreads across the country, the National Restaurant Association pushed back against state governors’ new restrictions on restaurants. In a letter sent to chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Association further noted that restaurants have been following enhanced Food and Drug Administration practices, and strengthening their safety protocols.

Noteworthy examples of enhanced implementation for guests and employees include requiring face coverings for staff, requesting face coverings for guests, adding more frequent hand sanitizing, providing guests with hand sanitizers, and increasing frequency of cleaning and sanitizing high-touch surfaces.

The Association said there is no scientific evidence linking restaurants to the increase in cases of COVID-19.

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“Data tying systemic community outbreaks of COVID-19 to restaurants has yet to emerge, but we are too commonly labelled as ‘super-spreaders,’ and have become a convenient scapegoat for reflexive shutdowns,” said Tom Bené, National Restaurant Association president and chief executive, in the letter that he penned.

[Related article: Association pushes back against study tying restaurants to COVID-19 incidence]

As part of its decision-making regarding closing or scaling back restaurant operations, governors should also consider the facts and contract-tracing data, not hypothetical models and simulations of transmissions, suggested the Association.

Additional requests for governors to consider:

  • Give restaurants as much advance notice of change as possible
  • Provide clarity on what health metrics should be achieved to return to previous business operating levels
  • In the event of a shutdown, designate restaurants should as essential, able to operate for takeout (pickup, delivery and drive-thru)
  • Consider Indoor dining closures a last resort
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A copy of the letter can be found here.

Photo credit: Jason Leung (featured preview image)

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