Hotels

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2023 Reveal: The World’s 50 Best Hotels

2023 Reveal: The World’s 50 Best Hotels

by David Klemt

Waves crashing on beach

The World’s 50 Best Hotels launches this year, completing the hospitality puzzle as it joins the World’s 50 Best Bars and the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Mark Sansom, content director for the World’s 50 Best Bars, shares details of the new list on episode 90 of the Bar Hacks podcast. To learn more about Mark and the World’s 50 Best Bars, you can also listen to episode 82 of Bar Hacks.

This is huge news for the hospitality, travel, and accommodation sectors. Sansom and the team go to great lengths when it comes to every detail of the World’s 50 Best Bars. Indeed, the awards ceremony is truly the Oscars of the bar world. Just take a look at the video below:

In fact, it’s likely a bit more fun than the Oscars. A room full of the best bar teams and industry professionals? You know it’s a nonstop party.

I say to say this: I expect the Oscars of the hotel world for the inaugural 50 Best Hotels ceremony. And I’m confident the team will deliver on that expectation.

To see the World’s 50 Best Bars for 2022, click here. For the World’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2022, follow this link.

Who Decides?

You’re probably wondering how all of this “works.” Just who decides, among all the hotels throughout the world, which are the 50 best?

As Sansom explains on the Bar Hacks podcast, hundreds of people decide.

For 2023, the World’s 50 Best Hotels is split into nine regions. That’s likely to grow (50 Best Bars and Restaurants each have 28 regions) but for now, that’s the breakdown.

Each of those regions is headed by an Academy Chair. The global Academy Chairs hand select voters. In this case, a mix of 580 travel journalists, educators, hospitality professionals, hoteliers, and luxury travelers. The voters are tasked with highlighting their top seven hotel experiences from the past two years.

A small board of directors isn’t deciding which hotels will make the list. There’s no small group choosing the ranking. Instead, hundreds of industry pros and hotel guests will determine the best of the best.

How do They Decide?

This is one of my favorite details. When it comes to criteria…there isn’t any.

I like this for several reasons, one of which is that nothing arbitrary is limiting these awards. Don’t have a pool? That’s fine. No steam shower in the en suite? Okay.

By eschewing criteria, no concept is left out—no property is excluded. As Sansom says on episode 90 of Bar Hacks, imposing criteria means people could miss out on experiencing stunning twelve-room boutique hotel.

Therefore, this list isn’t the exclusive domain of multi-unit, multi-concept hotel groups. Certainly there will be chain properties up for consideration. However, they’ll be mixing it up with boutique and solo, independent hotels.

Sansom also reveals what’s driving them to launch the World’s 50 Best Hotels. Far from a vanity project, this list is about helping the industry.

Like hospitality, travel and accommodation are recovering from a global pandemic. Highlighting the best hotels in the world should inspire people to get back to leisure travel.

The list will be revealed in September of this year. Make sure to watch this space and connect with the World’s 50 Best Hotels for more details, including the awards ceremony host city.

Follow the 50 Best Hotels on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. To learn more, visit their website.

Image: Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality Boutique Hotels, 2023 icon

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

US Opening Border to Vaccinated Travelers

US Opening Border to Vaccinated Travelers

by David Klemt

Roadmap showing United States of America, Canada, and Mexico borders

There will be more good news for the hospitality, travel, lodging, and tourism industries on Monday, November 8.

That’s the day that the US will open its borders to international travelers.

Guidance to enter the country applies to travelers arriving by land and air.

Neighbors to the North and South

This welcome news comes nearly three months after Canada opened its border to the US.

And like that border reopening, international travelers will have to prove their vaccination status. In fact, while not all the details are yet known, only fully vaccinated travelers will be permitted to cross American borders. The borders will remain closed to unvaccinated travelers.

The details for non-US travelers seeking to enter the country are as follows:

  • Non-essential travel is permitted.
  • Those entering via air travel will have to show proof of full vaccination before boarding their flight. They will also need to show proof of a “recent” negative Covid-19 test.
  • Travelers entering via Canadian or Mexican land borders will need to show proof of full vaccination. The negative test requirement is not, as of yet, required.
  • For now, Americans and non-US travelers will not have to quarantine after crossing a border.

Initial reporting stated that travel restrictions would be implemented via a phased approach. Land borders would be opened on November. However, air travel would remain restricted until the start of January 2022.

That doesn’t, at this moment, appear to be accurate.

Dozens of Countries Gain Access to US

Foreign travelers from the following countries who meet US requirements for entry will be able to enter:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • England
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Northern Ireland
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Scotland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Wales

Of course, this list is subject to updating, additions, and other changes.

Great News

Obviously, the US opening its borders to dozens of countries is great news for operators in several industries. Additionally, opening borders to economic partner countries should have a positive impact.

If it’s great for tourism, it’s great for hospitality, travel, and lodging and accommodation businesses. In turn, it should be a boon for the US economy.

Airlines should see a spike in travel, much of which will be tourism-based. That means hotels, restaurants, bars, lounges, nightclubs, breweries, distilleries, wineries, entertainment venues, stadiums, and more will benefit.

Operators will need to plan and execute to attract international travelers to leverage demand and increase revenue. Moving forward, forming partnerships with supportive partners (local restaurant with boutique hotel, for example) and working with domestic marketing organizations (DMOs) could pay dividends for savvy operators.

Image: REVOLT on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Current Restaurant, Bar and Travel Restrictions: Eastern Caribbean

Current Restaurant, Bar and Travel Restrictions: Eastern Caribbean

by David Klemt

KRG Hospitality has turned hospitality industry visions into reality throughout the Eastern Caribbean for several years.

We’ve reviewed and gathered the current Covid-19-based travel and operator restrictions for Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin and Sint Maarten to help current operators and those considering taking the next steps in their journey toward opening their own businesses.

To book a 15-minute introductory call to discuss your project and how we can help you realize your vision, click here.

Puerto Rico

Earlier this month, Governor Pedro Pierluisi revised Puerto Rico’s Covid-19 protocols.

Travel Requirements

  • Complete travel declaration and:
  • arrive with proof of a negative (molecule-based) Covid-19 test; or
  • self-quarantine (at traveler’s expense) either 14 days or the duration of your trip, whichever is shorter.
  • While in Puerto Rico, travelers must:
    • wear a mask at all times when in public;
    • wash hands frequently;
    • wipe down high-touch surfaces;
    • practice social distancing; and
    • keep track of and minimize places visited and interactions with people.

Requirements

  • Island-wide curfew from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM.
  • Hotels: Common areas closed from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM.
  • Restaurants: Limited to 30-percent capacity.
  • Bars and Discos: Closed.
  • Movie theaters and casinos: Limited to 30-percent capacity.
  • All businesses must close by 10:00 PM.

Recommendations

  • Reservations for restaurants visits.

US Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands Department of Health has provided incredibly detailed guidance for restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Click here for the full details. The USVI include the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, and several so-called “minor” islands.

Travel Requirements

  • All air and sea travelers to the US Virgin Islands five years of age or older are required to use the USVI Travel Portal and submit a Covid-19 test before travel. This includes anyone in-transit to another destination.
    • Acceptable tests: COVID-19 molecular from a nasal or throat or saliva swab, COVID-19 antigen (rapid) test from a nasal or throat swab, Covid-19 antibody finger stick or blood draw.
  • Travelers who originate in the USVI and return to the territory, including those who return within a five-day period, are required to take a Covid-19 test before returning or have proof of a positive antibody test result within the previous four months.

Requirements

  • All restaurant, bar and nightclub employees reporting for work must be screened for Covid-19 using this questionnaire.
  • Employers can either conduct temperature checks onsite with a no-touch thermometer or employees may check their temperatures before arriving at the workplace and have the results verified by management onsite. Temperatures should not exceed 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Employees and guests must wear masks at all times unless eating or drinking.
  • At the minimum, ask guests the following questions before allowing entry:
    • Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
    • Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath or sore throat?
    • Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
  • Capacity is limited to 50 percent (as defined by Business License or the Fire Marshall) or 100 guests, whichever is fewer.
  • Space tables and barstools six feet apart.
  • No more than six guests may be seated at the same table.
  • Serving alcohol at bar counters is prohibited.
  • Guests picking up takeout orders must wait outside until their order is ready.
  • The sale of alcohol between 11:00 PM and 8:00 AM by all restaurants and establishments with a Tavern Keeper A or Tavern Keeper B license is prohibited.
  • Restaurants must remain closed between the hours of midnight and 6:00 AM.
  • All bars and nightclubs are permitted to operate only for seated service.
  • Cabarets remain closed.
  • Last call for bars and nightclubs—without exception—is at 11:00 PM.
  • Guests of bars and nightclubs are required to wear masks unless seated at their designated table.
  • Live music and DJs must cease performances at closing time: Midnight.

Recommendations

  • Whenever possible, require reservations for visits and deliveries.
  • If possible, prioritize curbside pickup and takeout over in-person dining.

British Virgin Islands

The BVI, which consist of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke and more than 50 smaller islands and cays, were closed for nine months before reopening to travelers on December 1, 2020. The Government of the Virgin Islands, however, imposed a travel ban on anyone travelling from the United Kingdom and the Dominican Republic to the BVI effective January 11.

Travel Requirements

  • Travelers must start their application no later than 48 hours before travel.
  • Applications on the BVI Gateway portal must be completed a minimum of 24 hours before travel date and time.
  • All applicants who are in “pending” status and haven’t completed their necessary requirements 24 hours prior to travelling will be denied entry.
  • Travelers must have proof of negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 5 days prior to day of travel and proof of medical insurance that includes coverage for Covid-19.
  • Visitors are required to quarantine for four days on the property of their approved accommodations or at their own home. Arrival day is considered day zero.
  • Air travelers: Visitors can arrive at the Terrance B. Lettsome Airport (EIS) on Tortola.
  • Sea travelers: Visitors can arrive at Road Town Ferry Terminal.

Requirements

  • As of January 28, a curfew is in place from 2:01 AM to 4:59 AM daily until February 11. Businesses are permitted to operate between the hours of 5:00 AM to 2:00 AM daily if they’ve been inspected and approved by the Social Distancing Monitoring Task Force and certified by the Environmental Health Division.
  • Gold Seal Professional Level Certification: A nine-hour training course (three hours over three days) that incorporates COVID-19 training and professional-level hospitality service training required for front-line personnel across all hospitality industry sectors, specifically front desk representatives, guest room attendants, restaurant servers and kitchen cooks.

St. Martin and Sint Maarten

This 37-square-mile island has two sides, the St. Martin (the French) and Sint Maarten (the Dutch).

Travel Requirements

  • All travelers arriving by air must complete Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) application.
  • As of January 27, 2021, all travelers embarking in Aruba are required to submit a negative rt-PCR test within 72 hours before departure to Sint Maarten (until further notice)
  • As of February 12, 2021, the rt-PCR test time frame will be reduced from 120 to 72 hours, before departure to St. Maarten for all travelers originating from a high-risk country (last leg in case of connecting flights).
  • Travelers arriving via sea from a low-risk country are exempt from Covid-19 testing.
  • Travelers arriving via sea from a moderate- to high-risk country must complete an rt-PCR test 120 hours prior to departure from last port (must be the immediate last departure point).

Requirements

  • Restaurants, bars and nightclubs must close by midnight. This applies to the Dutch side of St. Maarten as well.
  • Casinos on the Dutch side must close by 2:00 AM.
  • No more than 6 people may be seated at any given table.
  • Tables and contact surfaces must be thoroughly disinfected with an antiviral product.
  • It is mandatory for staff and customers to wear a mask when moving around.

Last updated: January 28, 2021. Please note that Covid-19 guidance, restrictions and protocols are subject to swift change. One should monitor their jurisdictions for the latest updates.

Image: Colin Chong on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Current Restaurant and Bar Restrictions: Las Vegas, Nashville, Philadelphia, Orlando

Current Restaurant and Bar Restrictions: Las Vegas, Nashville, Philadelphia, Orlando

by David Klemt

KRG Hospitality has turned hospitality industry visions into reality throughout the United States for several years.

Currently, we operate in Las Vegas, Nashville, Philadelphia and Orlando, along with the surrounding areas. Of course, we’re available to take projects from the idea phase to opening doors and beyond in other markets.

We’ve reviewed and gathered the current Covid-19-based restrictions for each of the four main US markets in which KRG operates to help current operators and those considering taking the next steps in their journey toward opening their own businesses.

To book a 15-minute introductory call to discuss your project and how we can help you realize your vision, click here.

Las Vegas

Set to expire on January 15, Nevada’s statewide “pause,” first implemented on November 24, was extended January 11 for a further 30 days. Guidance can be found here.

Requirements

  • Restaurants and bars must reduce capacity from 50 percent to 25 percent for both indoor and outdoor dining.
  • Bar seating must be social distanced.
  • Walk-ins are prohibited. Guests must make reservations.
  • Masks must be worn when a guest isn’t eating or drinking.
  • No more than four people may share the same table.
  • Nightclubs and dayclubs aren’t permitted to open.

Recommendations

  • Curbside, delivery, and/or takeout are encouraged.
  • Restaurants and bars should continue to make hand sanitizer available and conduct health screenings and/or temperature checks.
  • Limit personal gatherings to ten people from a maximum of two families.
  • Wear masks at indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Nashville

Among Nashville’s restaurant and bar guidance is the “No Seat, No Service” mantra. Additional requirements and recommendations are below, and detailed information can be found here.

Requirements

  • All residents and all visitors must wear face coverings when in public.
  • Restaurants and bars limited to 5o-percent capacity, with social distancing.
  • Tables must be socially distanced. Limited to eight people per table.
  • Surfaces must be cleaned after they’ve been used by patrons.
  • Standing at the bar is prohibited–bars are seated-service only.
  • Remember “No Shirt, No Service”? The new rule is “No Seat, No Service.”
  • Customers must wear a mask when standing up and walking through the restaurant or bar.
  • Entertainment is permitted but barriers must be in place between performers and customers. However, dance floors are prohibited.
  • Bar games and activities like darts, arcade games, etc., must be sanitized in between uses.
  • Last call for service is 10:00 PM, which is also the cutoff for entry.
  • No self-service food or condiments are permitted.

Recommendations

  • Governor Bill Lee urges Tennesseans to wear a mask, gather only with immediate household members.
  • Display this sign to show commitment to mandated and recommended health and safety rules and practices.
  • Use contactless, virtual or disposable menus.

Philadelphia

The current restrictions went into effect November 20. Click here for the full list of requirements and recommendations. You’ll find the city’s complete hotel guidance here.

Requirements

  • Required protections: Masks, Barriers, Staff education, Employee symptom screening and isolation of infected employees, Ensure employees can remain six feet away from one another; Handwashing on employee arrival and in accordance to established food safety precautions, Follow Department of Public Health Food Safety regulations.
  • 25-percent capacity of stated fire code occupancy.
  • Guests may not stand in the restaurant or sit at the bar.
  • Alcohol may only be served on-premises if it’s part of the same transaction as a meal.
  • Table capacity of four people of the same household or less.
  • Outdoor dining capacity limited to fewer than 50 people.
  • Operators must plan for inclement weather in regards to outdoor dining.
  • No entertainment permitted.
  • Indoor catered events prohibited.
  • Last call for orders must take place at 11:00. Business must be closed for service by midnight.

Recommendations

  • Servers should wear face shields and/or goggles along with a mask.
  • Temperature checks for employees and customers aren’t required but no-touch thermometer should be used by establishments that choose to conduct them. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher should be turned away.
  • Consider using physical barriers in between tables.
  • Use contactless payment methods.
  • Promote online ordering, delivery, and curbside pickup options.

Hotel Requirements

  • Required protections: Provide masks to employees, Staff education, Employee symptom screening and isolation of infected employees, Ensure employees can remain six feet away from one another; Provide employees hourly handwashing breaks.
  • Separate staff from customers at ticket and information desks with plastic barriers.
  • Utilize contactless room service delivery.
  • Outdoor events and gatherings are prohibited from exceeding 10 percent of maximum occupancy (maximum of 2,000 persons), even with masks and social distancing. If no maximum occupancy is known, occupancy may not exceed more than 10 persons per 1,000 square feet.
  • Remove self-serve F&B stations from public areas.
  • Remove magazines, menus, and other reusable items that can’t be cleaned from guest rooms.
  • Indoor gatherings and events are prohibited.

Hotel Recommendations

  • Use contactless payment methods.
  • Increase building ventilation.

Orlando

Unlike Las Vegas, Nashville and Philadelphia, Orlando, because it’s located in Florida, has lifted restrictions on restaurants. Section 3: Restaurants of Executive Order 20-244 states:

“Pursuant to Chapter 252, including sections 252.36(5)(b ), (g) and (h), Florida Statutes, and in order to safeguard the economic vitality of this state, any restaurant may operate as set forth below.

“A. Restaurants, including any establishment with a food service license, may not be limited by a COVID-19 emergency order by any local government to less than fifty
percent (50%) of their indoor capacity. If a restaurant is limited to less than one hundred percent (100%) of its indoor capacity, such COVID-19 emergency order
must on its face satisfy the following:

“1. quantify the economic impact of each limitation or requirement on those restaurants; and 2. explain why each limitation or requirement is necessary for public health.

“B. Nothing in this order preempts or supersedes a non-COVID-19 municipal or county order.

“Section 4. Suspension of COVID-19-related Individual Fines and Penalties This order, consistent with Executive Order 20-92, suspends the collection of fines and
penalties associated with COVID-19 enforced upon individuals.”

The order that closed bars has also been rescinded: “Bars and other alcoholic beverage vendors may operate for consumption on premise effective Monday, Sept. 14th
under Phase 2… Adhere to social distancing rules, table seating [six feet] between tables. Alcohol allowed for take-out and delivery.”

However, Executive Order 20-192 is still in place and states:

“WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-68, as extended by Executive Order 20-112, which authorized the Department of Business and Professional
Regulation to ensure all restaurants implement employee screening and to prohibit any restaurant employee from entering the restaurant premises if he or she meets certain criteria indicative of concerns related to COVID-19.”

More details can be found here.

Last updated: January 27, 2021. Please note that Covid-19 guidance, restrictions and protocols are subject to swift change. One should monitor their state, county and city for the latest updates.

Image: Katy Anne on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

“More help is on the way.” But not for restaurants and bars.

“More help is on the way.” But not for restaurants and bars.

by David Klemt

Speaking about the economic relief package, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) struck what can be generously described as tainted altruism.

“More help is on the way,” said McConnell on the Senate floor on Sunday. He also took the time to attempt to absolve Republican leadership of any blame for the glacier-paced movement forward on relief, laying the fault at Democrats’ feet.

To be blunt, both parties have failed the American people and small businesses in terms of providing federal assistance during the pandemic.

After months of inaction on relief—with the exception of a Congressional vote in September that failed to pass in the Senate—and weeks of discussions and partisan sniping, negotiators finally managed to zero in on a bill with a strong likelihood of becoming law.

Yet sifting through remarks made by some politicians regarding pandemic relief over the course of the past several months, variants of the word “prompt” were bandied about.

If the package passes—which is expected to happen later today—members of Congress and Senate will no doubt perform self-congratulatory victory laps for finally doing their jobs after months of failing to do much of anything in the way of relief. Meanwhile, millions of Americans will continue to face life-altering challenges, reaching out for lifelines that are simply not there.

Included in the package are a number of details identified as “key” to both political parties:

  • The ability for businesses that had received Paycheck Protection Program loans which had been forgiven to deduct the costs said loans covered on their federal tax returns.
  • Speaking of the PPP, it will be reopened with over $284 billion intended for small businesses.
  • $12 billion in available PPP funds for minority-owned and “very small” businesses.
  • $15 billion made available in PPP funds specifically for independent movie theaters, live music venues, and cultural institutions like museums.
  • $600 stimulus checks for qualifying adults (and each child in a household) who earned $75,000 or less in 2019. The amount would be reduced for people who earned more. Those who made $99,000 or more last year are not expected to receive a stimulus check.
  • A $300 boost to unemployment benefits for 11 months, with a possible implementation date of December 27.
  • Gig and contract workers enrolled in the PUA or PEUC programs can expect the same $300 boost to their benefits for 11 to 13 weeks.
  • The deadline to spend billions of dollars made available to cities and states via the CARES Act is expected to be extended from the end of this year to be an entire year.
  • $25 billion in emergency assistance for renters.
  • A moratorium on evictions expected to be extended through the end of January.

What’s not in the package expected to be rushed through Congress? Hundreds of billions of dollars in state and local aid Democrats wanted, liability shields for corporations Republicans wanted, the $120 billion RESTAURANTS Act, or the $240 billion Restaurant and Foodservice Industry Recovery Fund.

Despite McConnell’s declaration that federal assistance is on the way, the economic relief plan leaves an industry that employs millions of American workers and contributes hundreds of billions of dollars to the nation’s GDP (four percent before the pandemic) to fend for itself.

Guy Fieri, in all seriousness, has done more for more unemployed restaurant workers than the government, raising more than $21 million in relief funds in under two months.

The hospitality jobs lost due to Covid-19 aren’t expected to return. With more than 110,000 restaurants closed—and counting—the economic impact will be felt nationwide and, in all probability, have global ramifications.

The PPP turned out to be an absolute farce: billions of dollars went to businesses that are anything but small by definition. There’s little reason to believe the process will improve much (if at all) this time around.

And while restaurants and bars have been crucial to nurturing community, connections and culture since inception, they’re clearly not considered culturally relevant institutions by politicians.

With Congress facing an uphill battle in terms of drafting the language for the relief bill and then voting on it, expecting our elected officials to propose, negotiate, draft and vote on a bill for the hospitality industry seems foolish. That means the earliest the industry can expect help—which seems exceedingly unlikely to ever materialize—is in late February of 2021.

Apparently restaurants, bars, and the foodservice professionals they employ aren’t key to politicians on any side of the aisle. Well, not until they need venues to host their campaign fundraisers, that is.

Image: Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Competing Stimulus Plans Fail to Include RESTAURANTS Act

Competing Stimulus Plans Fail to Include RESTAURANTS Act

by David Klemt – 12/3/2020

Talk out of Washington, D.C., about yet more stimulus relief package negotiations is making one thing starkly clear: We’re on our own.

There’s no help coming, not from the federal government.

Unfortunately—but perhaps unsurprisingly—it appears the bipartisan support the RESTAURANTS Act received in Congress was an exercise in optics. The result? Fleeting hope.

Without a signature from the president, it doesn’t matter that Congress voted to pass a revised HEROES Act two months ago. Lest anyone forget, the last time a meaningful Covid-19 relief package was signed by the current president on March 27 of this year.

Another way to put that is that our elected officials haven’t managed to pass a stimulus package signed into law for 251 days. They did, however, find the time for a week-long recess for Thanksgiving.

It was announced just two days ago that a bipartisan group of congresspeople and senators had negotiated a $908 billion stimulus package. The intention was to strike a middle ground between Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) desire for a $500 billion package and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) proposed $2 trillion-plus bill.

Yesterday, multiple sources reported that the $908 billion—which apparently didn’t include the RESTAURANTS Act—was dead on arrival.

Of note, at least to me, is that Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) is reported to have mentioned that this week’s touted bipartisan package had been negotiated “over pizza or pasta at people’s houses.” I have to wonder if the pizza or pasta was prepared, provided and delivered by restaurants that are among the hundreds of thousands facing permanent closure if the government doesn’t actually act in a meaningful way.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, on his way to a House committee meeting, reportedly said, “The president will sign the McConnell proposal that he put forward yesterday, and we look forward to making progress on that.”

From what I was able to glean, the RESTAURANTS Act isn’t included in McConnell’s bill either. Neither are stimulus checks nor a federal boost to unemployment insurance payments. Supposedly it does include an extension of the problematic Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); liability protection for schools and businesses; and a $332 million grant for theaters and live venues.

If the tone of this article comes across as angry, I freely admit that’s an accurate assessment. The RESTAURANTS Act was first introduced to Congress on June 15. Elected officials have had 171 days to help the hospitality industry.

The industry that employs more than 16 million people—11 million of which are employed by independent restaurants. The industry that generates well over $760 billion in annual sales. The industry that accounts for 3.5 percent of America’s GDP. The industry that has for years provided venues, food and drinks for elected officials’ countless re-election campaign fundraisers.

The industry that, should tens or hundreds of thousands of restaurants close their doors permanently, will shed millions of jobs that will not return.

And that’s just what’s happening to the industry in the United States. The industry is similarly at extremely high risk for irreversible devastation in Canada and throughout the world.

So, yes—I’m angry. I’m angry that the millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars this industry contributes just to America apparently don’t mean much to government officials.

I suppose I can only blame myself for holding out hope that the RESTAURANTS Act would be signed into law. After all, the president, speaking about restaurants back in March, said, “they’ll all come back in one form or another,” adding, “It may not be the same restaurant, it may not be the same ownership, but they’ll be back.”

They won’t be back. We’ve already suffered permanent closures. There was no prescience—or empathy—in the president’s statement. Let me make this clear: I’m not laying all of this solely at his feet. America’s politicians on all sides have failed the hospitality industry and therefore millions of Americans.

Restaurants, bars, lounges, nightclubs, hotels… This is an industry that consists of incredibly resilient people. There comes a point, however, that even the most resilient need help.

As hospitality professionals fight to return to their feet, bloodied and battered from countless blows, it doesn’t seem that the government is in their corner. Nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong, but we’ve been at this crossroads for months now.

Image: Caleb Perez on Unsplash

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