Coronavirus in Delaware: Fallout from closing restaurants and bars
Gov. John Carney followed federal health recommendations and neighboring states earlier this week and adjusted his emergency order to limit restaurants in Delaware to carry-out and delivery only in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The move put thousands in Delaware out of work and Delaware’s Restaurant Association says more needs to be done to help the state’s service industry stay afloat during the pandemic.
Delaware Public Media’s Nick Ciolino recently spoke with Delaware Restaurant Association president and CEO Carrie Leishman about how this service industry is dealing with uncertainty it faces during this outbreak.
Following th governor's emergency order, the state issued new unemployment insurance guidelines to help the thousands out of a job.. And Carney set up a loan program though the Delaware Small Business Association (SBA) for restaurants, bars and other hospitality-related businesses to help them survive the emergency.
“Everyone talks about loving their local restaurant and loving their bartender, but if we don’t do more, be prepared for many of your favorite places just not to come back,” said Delaware Restaurant Association President and CEO Carrie Leishman.
The SBA grants are only available for businesses with an annual revenue below $1.5 million. Leishman is negotiating for more. She says revenue does not necessarily represent need in the “cash-flow industry.”
“If a small pizza shop is doing $1.5 million in sales annual, or your neighborhood pub is doing $2.5 million, the profit is the same,” she said. “So, it’s all about cash flow and we’re working with our Division of Small Business to do another round for small businesses that don’t fall into that category.”
Leishman adds she was in conversations with Sen. Chris Coons following the emergency order. Coons has since introduced a $17 billion bill in Congress to relieve small business loan payments for 6 months.
About 50,000 people in the state, or one out of ten Delawareans, work in restaurants.
As of Friday afternoon 39 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Delaware.