The Latest Info for Restaurants in Wisconsin

Coronavirus - Employer Resources

Susan Quam

For more information, contact:

Susan Quam | Executive Vice President

squam@wirestaurant.org

Dawn Faris

For more information, contact:

Dawn Faris | Vice President, Exposition & Business Development

dfaris@wirestaurant.org

Chef Cleaning

State of Wisconsin Order

March 24, 2020

Safer at Home Order Effective March 25th

On March 24th, Governor Tony Evers directed Department of Health Services (DHS) to issue a Safer at Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel, with some exceptions.

We are pleased the Governor took WRA’s guidance to allow restaurants that remain open for delivery, takeout, drive-through and curbside services to continue operating as they have been for the last seven days.

The order is effective at 8 am on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 and will remain in effect until 8 am April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued.

Press Release 

Safer at Home Order 

Orders Specific to Restaurants

Gov. Evers Suspends Evictions and Foreclosures During Public Health Emergency

Read Press Release

WRA has developed (in conjunction with the Restaurant Law Center) an Essential Employee letter that you can provide to all of your employees who will be working in your business and be sure to carry this with you. Fill in the appropriate blanks and make sure all your staff have one in their possession at this time.

Essential Employee Letter

WI Capitol Building

On Friday (3/27) Congress passed and the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

PRESIDENT SIGNS CARES ACT CORONOVIRUS RELIEF BILL

The $2 trillion Coronavirus relief package includes a dramatic expansion of unemployment insurance, a rescue fund for state and local governments, immediate cash for hospitals, tax benefits and a huge pool of grants and loans for small businesses. The bill offers help for small businesses including independent restaurants and franchisees with many provisions that were specifically lobbied for by the National Restaurant Association and the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. 

WRA will keep restaurant operators posted as more details are available on exactly what this means for restaurant businesses.

CARES Act Benefits for Restaurant Operators and Their Employees

Paycheck Protection Program Info 

Phase Three CARES Act FAQ

Help for Wisconsin Taxpayers

Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR), like the IRS, automatically extended income tax payment and return due dates to July 15, 2020. Recently (3/27) the Department announced several additional measures to help taxpayers including immediate steps to help small businesses with sales tax payments due on March 31. 

More Info 

manager_with_chef_692907913

Covid-19 Toolkit

WRA has been taking calls from restaurant operators and gathering resources from a variety of sources since the COVID-19 crisis began.  We have taken all of the information that we have gathered and created a guide with tips to help foodservice operators.  We hope you find this to be a useful tool. Even if you get just a couple good ideas, it will have been worth it.

Download the PDF (English)

Download the PDF (Spanish)

How to Get Started with Delivery

As restaurants deal with this unprecedented time and a ban on in-person dining, food delivery is in high demand. Many businesses are struggling with how to move into this business model. This guide includes some of the most important things to know if you want to start delivering or increase the capacity of an existing delivery system.

Download the Delivery Guide

Food Safety Supplement

Chef with Tablet

Employee Resources

The crisis caused by the world pandemic from COVID-19 has caused many to lose their jobs within the restaurant industry. We honor and support all employees and know that this is incredibly difficult for you and your families. We are committed to trying to provide helpful resources for employees and options to consider.

More Info


Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

In the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) set up the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to help restaurant industry employees experiencing hardship in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The fund will provide $500 grants to restaurant industry employees who have been financially impacted by COVID-19, whether through a decrease in wages or loss of employment. Funds will be disbursed on a first-come-first-served basis to individuals that meet eligibility requirements, subject to availability of funds. Applications accepted starting April 2.

Apply or Donate Online 

April 2, 2020 - For those still looking to apply for the National Restaurant Employee Relief Fund please follow the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation on Facebook or on Twitter at @NRAEF for the most immediate information, how to apply for this fund & for any other questions you may have regarding this.

Coronavirus and Restaurants FAQ

Teen Labor

While schools are closed, can my teen employees work during the day and more hours?

As long as there is no required school during the school week:

  • 14-15-year-olds can work up to 8 hours a day and up to 40 hours a week, permitted time of day 7 am – 7 pm
  • 16-17-year-olds can work unlimited hours. However, 16-17 year olds must be paid overtime for their hours in excess of 10 per day or 40 per week, whichever is greater.
  • With all minors, those under 18 years old, you must provide a 30 minute meal break if they work over 6 hours.

My employee is in online school now due to COVID-19.  Can this employee work during the school day?

Scheduling after the traditional spring break or extended spring break when schools are not open but school is “in session” will be complicated and will most likely vary by school / school district for each individual minor employee.

  • If school is requiring check in from beginning of school day to end of school day, do not schedule that teen during the school day. Some schools will be taking attendance.   Therefore, the minor (all ages) is required to attend school and cannot be scheduled to work during the school day. Be mindful of the hours and times 14-15-year-olds can work during a school day and school week.
  • If school is requiring the student to perform some type of remote learning, that becomes a school week.  If the school work is to be done by the “end of the day” with no particular check in, best to be sure student has time to do work but could schedule teen during school hours—have documentation of the students circumstances and pay attention to number of hours 14- and 15-year-olds can work.    May be best to play it safe and not schedule during traditional school hours under these unknown circumstances.  
  • If the district is completely shut down for the full week with no remote learning requirement, then it is a non-school week and you can schedule the teen according to his/her age for a non-school week. Refer to this poster:

Download Poster


Unemployment

Can my full and part-time employees apply for unemployment?

Yes, as of right now, there is a 7 day waiting period to receive benefits.  However, the Governor has indicated he is waiving this period and will suspend the work search requirements.  Employees do not need to be “fired” to apply. Here is a link from DWD explaining Corvid-19 and unemployment insurance. Anyone can apply, but eligibility will depend on the circumstances of each employee.

Print this poster and give to employees

More Info


How do I apply for UI?

Click here for the Department of Workforce Development Unemployment Insurance site. It has easy to read and understand information.

If this is your first time applying, you must first APPLY for Unemployment Insurance, then each week you must FILE for your weekly claim.

Per the Department of Workforce Development site—
Have This Information Ready To Apply:

  • A username and password for filing online*
  • A valid email or mobile number
  • Your social security number*
  • Your Wisconsin driver license or identification number
  • Your work history for the last 18 months:
    • Employers' business names
    • Employers' addresses (including zip code)
    • Employers' phone number
    • First and last dates of work with each employer
    • Reason no longer working with each employer
  • If not a U.S. citizen, your alien registration number, document number and expiration date
  • Form DD-214 (Member 4 copy), if you served in the military in the last 18 months
  • Form SF-50 or SF-8, if you are a federal civilian employee
  • If you are a union member, the name and local number of your union hall
  • Your current address. You need a valid mailing address to receive important documents about your claim. Make sure you have notified your post office of any recent changes to your address.

View this video for assistance


What times can I apply or file for UI?

First you must APPLY by completing the initial form with your name, address, employers for the last 18 months etc. You are first creating an account. This is generally done during daylight hours (see hours of operation below).

Then each week you FILE your weekly claim. For example, set aside time on one specific day each week to complete this. 

Remember, even online services have hours of operation. 

Click Here to View the Hours of Operation


Where can my employees get for more information?

For more information about unemployment insurance visit the DWD website at dwd.wisconsin.gov/ui

Or for help using online services, call 414.435.7069 during business hours.

Alcohol Service

Are we allowed to sell beer and wine with delivery if we have a class B liquor license?

As of right now, you are not allowed to sell alcohol with delivery. BUT, with take out or curbside it depends. With takeout, yes, as long as you have a class B liquor license you can sell unopened bottles of wine and beer. If your municipality allows, you can also sell unopened bottles of spirits to customers. Most municipalities do allow the sale of spirits by the bottle by restaurants. Please remember—all sales of alcohol must be made face to face and ID’s checked.

If you do not currently have a license to sell beer, wine and spirits, you cannot sell them to your customers.

For curbside it is best to check with your local municipality for the ability to take alcohol from your building to your parking lot. The ability to accommodate curbside alcohol orders will depend on how your premise is defined on your liquor license. If your parking lot is included in the premise on your liquor license, then you can bring out the beer, wine and spirits to them—again if your municipality allows.

In many areas, local law enforcement is keeping an eye on this issue, so be sure you are following the law and make sure you are checking ID’s for all customers.


Can I sell mixed drinks in a covered and packaged container made by our restaurant/bar?

You cannot sell mixed drinks for carryout at this time. We have heard that some restaurants and bars are doing it, but it is illegal. We are asking legislative leaders and the Governor to allow it to happen during the shutdown, as long as drinks can be packaged in a way to prevent folks from drinking them while driving. But it isnot legal at this time. We will keep the industry in the loop if we can get it done.

Pay

If restaurants are mandated to close for in-house seating but we can still do take out and curbside, do I need to change my employees’ wages?

No, but you want to make sure they are still making at least $7.25/hour with tips and wages per workweek.

Delivery

Are there any restrictions to making additional employees delivery drivers?

You will need to check with your insurance carrier what steps need to be completed. Know that minors are not allowed to do much with delivery. 

More Info on Teen Labor


What insurance coverage is needed if I plan to have employees deliver food?

Hired and Non-owned Auto Coverage 

It is common for restaurants who employ delivery drivers who use their own car to obtain hired and non-owned auto coverage for liability incurred by those drivers.  This is often offered as a rider to a commercial general liability policy.  Since many of the restaurants who may begin delivery services did not anticipate the need for this coverage, it is likely that their commercial general liability policy will not include a hired and non-owned auto coverage rider.  The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) further believes that it would be impractical and untimely for these restaurants to shop for coverage that includes coverage for non-owned autos.

For these reasons, OCI orders all insurers who provide commercial general liability coverage to a restaurant to notify their restaurant insureds that hired and non-owned auto coverage is available if requested.  If the insured restaurant requests hired and non-owned auto coverage, the insurer shall, either through a rider or stand-alone policy, provide this coverage to any insured restaurant for no additional cost.

This order shall apply to all commercial general liability policies in effect on or after March 17, 2020.  The coverage afforded shall be effective upon the date it is requested.  Insurers who offer retroactive coverage may request that the insured certify that they have not incurred any potential claims in the period of retroactive coverage.  This order shall remain in effect until the public health emergency order is lifted, in whole or in part, to permit restaurants to resume normal operations.

In addition, delivery drivers are now covered under their personal auto policy.  It is strongly suggested each employee now classified as a delivery driver contact their own auto carrier and inform them of the change. Again, this is suggested, not required. 


What is a normal insurance requirement for delivery drivers?

Any employee using their own automobile for deliveries should make sure their own automobile insurance covers them for liability in the unlikely event an accident happens. If you are having employees deliver as part of your new business plan, you must contact your insurance broker. At minimum you as the business owner MUST have non-owned and hired automobile coverage added to your package policy and/or automobile policy.  

Here are the general rules most insurance companies will enforce:

  1. Drivers must have valid driver’s license with minimum three years licensed driving experience.
  2. Ask driver if they have had any violations or accidents in the last three years—two minor violations may be acceptable. If any more violations than that, do not let them drive.
  3. Ask driver if they have any major violations in last five years such as DUI, speeding in excess, reckless driving or any suspension or revocation. If the driver cannot answer no, than this is a red flag and driving for your business should not be allowed.
  4. If you want employee to use own vehicles, remind drivers that their personal insurance will pay first. 
  5. Get a copy of driver’s current auto declaration page—many personal auto policies have exclusions for delivery. 
  6. The employee should verify coverage for delivery. If no coverage on personal policy, don’t let them drive for your business.
  7. If employee is assigned to driving duties, you should add work comp classification code 7380 to your work comp policy as well. The rate set by the State is $6.37 per hundred dollars of payroll for each employee driving. 

Protect yourself and your business. Reach out to your trusted broker to have the proper coverage added to your policy BEFORE it’s too late.

Condiments

Can packets of condiments be made available to customers?

Yes, as long as the condiments are in packets and not pump dispensers.

Beverage Stations

Can customers use beverage stations? 

Customers cannot use beverage stations at all. This includes self-service coffee. If an employee is the only one using the station to then serve the customers, that would be allowed. Keep customers as far as possible from the station itself to prevent accidental contamination.

Insurance

Will my business insurance (Society or other) cover my business losses due to these special circumstances?

Our understanding is that most business insurance covers losses only due to a physical location issue (damaged building, fire, tornado, etc.) and pandemics are not covered in these policies. However, all policies are different so you should contact your broker directly about your specific coverage. 


Is it possible the federal government will address the lack of coverage in this area?  

WRA expects the federal government to address this issue through the COVID 4 package that will be worked on in the next few weeks.  We are encouraging Congress to develop a fund for insurance companies to draw upon to pay out at least a percentage of business interruption claims.

The unfortunate part is that insurance companies do not have enough money to cover business interruption claims for this crisis.  WRA spoke to the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) quite a few times regarding business interruption insurance.   OCI knows the financial situation and was the first to tell us that it would bankrupt every insurance company. 

WRA was able to help secure delivery insurance for both employees and employers at no additional cost.  We realize that is not a huge help to every restaurant, but it is a start.

WRA encourages employers to look at the various relief measures that will be available in the CARES package that just passed Congress. Here is a link to the basics. 

More Info

There may be a forgivable loan that will work for many restaurant and hospitality operators or Small Business Administration loans that can help until we know when restaurants can open up again and function at 100%.   WRA will get information out to the industry as we learn more about how these forgivable loans are developed.


What insurance coverage is needed if I plan to have employees deliver food?

Hired and Non-owned Auto Coverage 

It is common for restaurants who employ delivery drivers who use their own car to obtain hired and non-owned auto coverage for liability incurred by those drivers.  This is often offered as a rider to a commercial general liability policy.  Since many of the restaurants who may begin delivery services did not anticipate the need for this coverage, it is likely that their commercial general liability policy will not include a hired and non-owned auto coverage rider.  The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) further believes that it would be impractical and untimely for these restaurants to shop for coverage that includes coverage for non-owned autos.

For these reasons, OCI orders all insurers who provide commercial general liability coverage to a restaurant to notify their restaurant insureds that hired and non-owned auto coverage is available if requested.  If the insured restaurant requests hired and non-owned auto coverage, the insurer shall, either through a rider or stand-alone policy, provide this coverage to any insured restaurant for no additional cost.

This order shall apply to all commercial general liability policies in effect on or after March 17, 2020.  The coverage afforded shall be effective upon the date it is requested.  Insurers who offer retroactive coverage may request that the insured certify that they have not incurred any potential claims in the period of retroactive coverage.  This order shall remain in effect until the public health emergency order is lifted, in whole or in part, to permit restaurants to resume normal operations.

In addition, delivery drivers are now covered under their personal auto policy.  It is strongly suggested each employee now classified as a delivery driver contact their own auto carrier and inform them of the change. Again, this is suggested, not required. 


What is a normal insurance requirement for delivery drivers?

Any employee using their own automobile for deliveries should make sure their own automobile insurance covers them for liability in the unlikely event an accident happens. If you are having employees deliver as part of your new business plan, you must contact your insurance broker. At minimum you as the business owner MUST have non-owned and hired automobile coverage added to your package policy and/or automobile policy.  

Here are the general rules most insurance companies will enforce:

  1. Drivers must have valid driver’s license with minimum three years licensed driving experience.
  2. Ask driver if they have had any violations or accidents in the last three years—two minor violations may be acceptable. If any more violations than that, do not let them drive.
  3. Ask driver if they have any major violations in last five years such as DUI, speeding in excess, reckless driving or any suspension or revocation. If the driver cannot answer no, than this is a red flag and driving for your business should not be allowed.
  4. If you want employee to use own vehicles, remind drivers that their personal insurance will pay first. 
  5. Get a copy of driver’s current auto declaration page—many personal auto policies have exclusions for delivery. 
  6. The employee should verify coverage for delivery. If no coverage on personal policy, don’t let them drive for your business.
  7. If employee is assigned to driving duties, you should add work comp classification code 7380 to your work comp policy as well. The rate set by the State is $6.37 per hundred dollars of payroll for each employee driving. 

Protect yourself and your business. Reach out to your trusted broker to have the proper coverage added to your policy BEFORE it’s too late.

Financial Assistance

What assistance will be available to businesses that need financial help?

Disaster Loan Assistance

Wisconsin businesses can now apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million per business.  Wisconsin’s access to SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance was unlocked on March 20th. 

Click here to apply. Keep in mind, the website is experiencing high volume due to large demand. They recommend logging in between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am for better luck connecting.  Also make sure to save your application as you are working on it.

Here’s a list of things you will need to apply for a loan.

  • Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506T) for the applicant, principals and affiliates. 
  • Complete copies of the most recent Federal Income Tax Return.
  • Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202).
  • Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413)
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Monthly sales figures (SBA Form 1368)

For more on SBA programs for the coronavirus, please visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus.

SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS

Small Businesses and private non-profits are now eligible for SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans(EIDL). Loans are available for up to $2 million can help provide working capital to meet the needs of payroll, accounts payable and fixed debt payments until the situation improves. EIDL info sheet attached.

EIDL Fact Sheet

New! Live Loan Webinars Starting March 30 
Wisconsin's SBA office will again offer live daily webinars to walk you through the application process and answer your questions. Register for Monday, March 30 through April 10. All sessions are at 2 pm:

REGISTER FOR LOAN WEBINAR

The US Chamber of Commerce issued a helpful guide and fact sheet to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Small Business ELA Loan Guide

 

Heartland Capital

Small businesses can have access to loans up to $5 million and access a line of credit up to $500 thousand.  What will be needed to apply:

  • Currently open for business
  • In business three years
  • Can provide three consecutive bank statements
  • Have a credit score of 550 or higher

You do not need to be a current Heartland customer to apply.

To learn more please text the word “Capital” to 1-414-409-0087 or call 414-973-9128. You may also email Tony Jalan directly at tony.jalan@e-hps.com or Sarah Bauer at sarah.bauer@heartland.us.

 

WEDC Grant Program
Small employers with 20 or fewer full-time or part-time employees may be eligible for a grant program through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Click here for additional information including eligibility for that program.

To be eligible, businesses need to be current clients of a Community Development Financial Institution. 

Restaurants need to work with their lenders to apply. See participating financial institutions listed here. WEDC also suggests small businesses contact their own financial institutions for lending options.

10 People or Less

What is meant by a gathering of less than 10 people regarding my takeout business?

You can have your staff in addition to more customers waiting in line for order pick up. Keep in mind that your customers must meet the social distance requirement—6 ft apart and be sure to avoid a “gathering” of 10 or more. The customers in line should be a temporary wait much like at the grocery store.

 

ServSafe

I am registered for a ServSafe review in the near future—what’s happening?

We are adjusting dates as needed based on current mandates – we had to cancel some, but we rescheduled where possible. You can transfer to another date if your original date was cancelled or rescheduled.

  • April 20 – Waunakee – cancelled
  • April 27 – Appleton – cancelled; rescheduled from April 6
  • April 27 – Wisconsin Dells – cancelled
  • April 27 – Glendale – cancelled
  • May 4 – Madison – tentative
  • May 4 – Milwaukee – tentative; rescheduled from April 6

We strongly encourage you to reschedule to a date in June or later since May classes may end up being cancelled pending future government mandates. If your certification deadline is coming up, please know the state does provide a six month grace period from the expiration date of the food manager certificate.

The Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection has also shared they will work with individuals who have surpassed the grace period as long as they have signed up for a class – and can verify their ServSafe class was cancelled and that they’re registered for a future one. 

To see our schedule, please click here.


As the industry faces ongoing challenges with COVID-19, the National Restaurant Association remains dedicated to helping everyone stay safe. Food safety training and education are more critical now than ever before. With this in mind, ServSafe will be releasing two new training videos, free to our constituents, to reinforce safe food handling during the coronavirus outbreak. These are: ServSafe Takeout: COVID-19 Precautions and ServSafe Delivery: COVID-19 Precautions

In addition, to support restaurant workers on the front line, ServSafe is making its standard, ANSI accredited, online ServSafe Food Handler training program available free of charge through April 30, 2020.

More Info

Now through April 30, the NRA is offering both our Restaurant Professional and Restaurant Supervisor learning suites FREE of charge to restaurant industry workers along with the ServSafe Food Handler Online Training.

Take-Out

Can I still allow customers to order takeout from my restaurant?

 

There has been some conflicting information about what is allowed regarding takeout according to the Governor's order that closed restaurant dining rooms.

We recently received clarification from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) on this.

  • Online and phone orders can be picked up and paid for in person, provided there is social distancing of 6 feet between customers.
  • Orders can be made onsite, limiting the total number of customers inside the establishment at one time to fewer than 10, if social distancing can be maintained during order, payment and pickup.
  • No food, alcohol or other beverages of any kind can be consumed on the premises.

Take-Out Tips From WRA:

  1. Put X or tape on the floor where customers are to stand 6 feet apart
  2. No chairs for seating – no beverages of any kind consumed while waiting – canned and bottled beverages or fountain beverages dispensed by employees can be handed to the customer while customer is waiting for the order but again not consumed on your premises.
  3. Have folks wait outside - still 6 feet apart
  4. Have folks wait in their cars until their order is ready
  5. Make more use of your online ordering / drive up services
  6. Offer a discount or coupon for their next order

WRA has been advised that county health departments may start closing restaurant access for “on demand” takeout ordering. This means a customer would not be able to come into a restaurant and order food and wait for it to be prepared. It would require the order be phoned in or placed online.

County health departments have statutory authority to enact stricter orders during public health emergencies.

We understand these health department orders do not make sense science-wise, since on demand ordering is allowed in grocery stores. WRA is currently working with state government officials on the issue.

If you are in a county that is enacting these measures, we advise you to do the following:

  • Comply with the order! Do not jeopardize your license or give regulatory agencies a reason to shut you down
  • Post a sign on your door with your restaurant’s phone number or online ordering app, and have customers return to their car to place an order—ask them to wait in your parking lot
  • You can give the customer a time frame on when to come back into the restaurant to pick up the order or deliver the order to their car
  • You can accept payment face to face

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Payment and Payment Recovery

What is the FFCRA?

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into law by the President recently.  It requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.    

There was confusion on the effective date and the Department of Labor (USDOL) confirmed the law becomes effective April 1 through December 31, 2020.

Guidance on the FFCRA will continue to flow. 

DOL Resource Page

This main page includes specific information such as:

FFCRA Questions and Answers

FFCRA Employee Paid Leave Rights

FFCRA Employer Expanded Family and Medical Leave Requirements


What sources are available to me to help recover some costs?

Below is a link that provides information on how small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.

Click for More Info


Is there a required poster about the FFCRA?

Yes, all covered employers (i.e,all private sector employers with fewer than  500 employees) are required to post this notice.

Click here

FAQs regarding the poster -

Click here 


What is the plan for reimbursement of emergency paid leave under the FFCRA?

The IRS posted this news release on their website. This is the plan on how employers will be able to recover dollar for dollar payment to employees when the required leave is paid.

More Info


Rumors

How do I distinguish myths and rumors from fact?

Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. Do your part to the stop the spread of disinformation by doing 3 easy things; don’t believe the rumors, don’t pass them along and go to trusted sources of information to get the facts about the federal (COVID-19) response. FEMA has created a website to help the public distinguish myth from fact. 

More Info

Health and Safety

Should counter, drive through and curbside services staff use gloves?

Gloves can be helpful, but can also be a hindrance, in slowing  the spread of this virus. In the food code, gloves are one way to prevent bare hand contact of ready to eat food and reduce food borne pathogens. They are NOT a way to directly prevent cross contamination between hard surfaces. You can contaminate surfaces with gloved hands, just like you can with bare hands.

Coronavirus is NOT a foodborne pathogen.  If the gloves come in contact with the coronavirus, such as touching a door knob or counter surface, they will transport that virus to other hard surfaces.  Proper handwashing and frequent glove changes would be key to their use, which is what restaurants need to do all of the time. Gloves may help provide protection to employees, as long as they do not touch their face when wearing them. 

Gloves tend to make consumers feel better, but if used improperly, they will help spread the virus, not protect the customer. Until recommended directly by the FDA and Wisconsin Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection for this virus, the use of gloves is not required.  It is up to individual restaurants. If they help customers feel better, then use them, but increase handwashing and glove changes to help prevent moving the virus from surface to surface.

Restaurants Selling Grocery Items or Packaged Foods

As the COVID-19 continues, restaurants are looking to other ways they can help consumers purchase not only meals for takeout, but also some basic grocery items like eggs, milk and bread. Below is some guidance to begin offering basic grocery items.

Do I need a grocery store license?

Grocery stores and restaurants operate as licensed food establishments, and follow the same food safety and packaging rules so no you do not need a grocery store license.


What items can I sell?

We recommend you consider selling pre-packaged goods, such as gallons of milk, loaf of bread or a dozen eggs.  We do not recommend selling bulk items by the pound, unless you have a scale that complies with Wisconsin’s weights and measures rules.  More information on weights and measures rules can be found here.

If you would like to sell items that you bake/cook in your restaurant, such as a loaf of bread, you need to follow state and federal labeling requirements. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Food and Drug Administration has temporarily relaxed the requirement for nutrition information on food labels.  For restaurants that wish to sell packaged food to consumers directly, or to other businesses for sale to consumers, the FDA does not intend to object if the packaged food lacks a Nutrition Facts label, provided that the food does not have any nutrition claims and contains other required information on the label, including the following, as applicable:

  • a statement of identity,
  • an ingredient statement,
  • the name and place of the business of the food manufacturer, packer, or distributor,
  • net quantity of contents, and
  • allergen information required by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.

You can also sell a “meal kit” that contains all of the items needed to for the customer to cook at home. Similar to single items, you will need to provide a sheet of paper or label that complies with the above requirements. There must be an ingredient statement for each of the items in the meal kit, unless you are using prepackaged items that has its own list of ingredients on the label.  Items such as meat and poultry should have a weight included, such as “two 12-ounce steaks”. Unless you have a scale that complies with weights and measures rules, you purchase pre-weighed and packaged meat products from your suppliers.


What price can I sell my items for?

Wisconsin has laws that prevents price gouging in times of crisis. The Governor must declare the state is experiencing is in a period of abnormal economic disruption—which Governor Evers has. Once declared, wholesalers and retailers are prohibited from selling consumer goods or services that are subject to the order at prices that are not more than 15 percent above pre-declaration prices. However retailers are permitted to pass on their cost increases. Here is a simple example:  if you purchased a gallon of milk from your supplier for $2.00 you cannot sell it for $5.00, unless you are hearing from your supplier that it is raising its price to $4.00 per gallon.  You need to use some common sense to the market prices in your area and not take advantage of your regular customers.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is developing an official guide for restaurants who wish to conduct grocery store activities. When that guide is available it will be posted here. Please check back for additional information. Questions can be directed to Susan Quam at 608-270-9950 or squam@wirestaurant.org.

As part of the COVID-19 webinar series, the National Restaurant Association will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. Central Time with the law firm of Littler Mendelson to address implementation of the paid leave provisions contained in the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” This webinar will include analysis and discussion of preliminary guidance recently issued by the U.S. Department of Labor and best practices for restaurants to meet regulatory compliance and avoid pitfalls.  Speakers will include Michael J. Lotito and James A. Paretti, Jr., shareholders with Littler Mendelson; and Shannon Meade, Vice President of Public Policy and Legal Advocacy, National Restaurant Association.

NRA Webinar

The National Restaurant Association hosted a webinar at 2 pm central time on March 27th to discuss the CARES Act (i.e. COVID 3). Participants need to read the Association’s summary of the CARES Act before the call – Available On Demand.

NRA Webinar



SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS

Small Businesses and private non-profits are now eligible for SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans(EIDL). Loans are available for up to $2 million can help provide working capital to meet the needs of payroll, accounts payable and fixed debt payments until the situation improves. EIDL info sheet attached.

New! Live Loan Webinars Starting March 30 
Wisconsin's SBA office will again offer live daily webinars to walk you through the application process and answer your questions. Register for Monday, March 30 through April 10. All sessions are at 2 pm:

REGISTER FOR LOAN WEBINAR

What Restaurant Operators Should Know About COVID-19
Presented by Winsight
March 31, 2020 at 1 pm Central Time – Also Available On Demand

Understand the impact of coronavirus on restaurants and what operators should know as they head into a spring of uncertainty.
Jonathan Maze, Editor-in-Chief, Restaurant Business 
Peter Romeo, Editor at Large, Restaurant Business

Register 

State of Our Industry
Presented by Winsight
April 2, 2020 at 11 am Central Time – Also Available On Demand

A discussion of the current restaurant landscape, economic hardships from COVID-19 and the foodservice outlook. 
Joe Pawlak, Managing Principal, Technomic

Register 

 

wra-wner-laptop
laptop_couple_495735718

How to Help Your Community

Donate Supplies to the Front-Line Workers
Consider donating personal protective equipment (PPE) to help your local front-line employees get the protection they need. Helpful items could be gloves, masks, gowns, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, etc. Contact your local fire departments, police departments or hospitals to find out where you can drop off supplies.

Other locations requesting supplies:

Dane County Sheriff's Department
Need: Surgical masks, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, N95 masks
Drop-off: Call 608.327.9371 or email bowers.juan@dansheriff.com 

Kemps
Need: Hand sanitizers & disinfecting wipes
Drop-off: W55 N155 McKinley Blvd, Cedarburg, WI

Rock County Sheriff’s Department
Need: Masks, gowns, face shields
Drop-off: Please call 608.290.4589 or email eoc.eoc@co.rock.wi.us to make arrangements

Donate Food
Open up your restaurant’s freezer/pantry so they can feed their families. Local food banks are welcoming donations of canned or non-perishable items, as well as other basic necessities.

Patronize Local Restaurants
Grab curbside, take out or delivery from your favorite local dining spot or consider purchasing a gift card to be used at a later date.

Volunteer
Organizations that feed and run errands for the elderly such as Meals on Wheels America [] and Feeding America [] are desperately seeking volunteers to help with deliveries and stocking shelves.

Donate Blood
The American Red Cross and other blood centers are experiencing a decrease in blood donations. If you are healthy, consider scheduling an appointment.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association has been working to protect your businesses and champion important policies that provide financial relief and critical support to you and your employees during this difficult and challenging time.

As your trade association, we are in constant communication with the Governor’s office and the Federal Government through the National Restaurant Association, as well as various agencies at the local, state and federal levels.

Through conversations with the Governor's office, WRA was instrumental in keeping restaurants open in Wisconsin for takeout, drive-through, curbside and delivery as orders from the Governor came through. WRA also worked with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to clarify that under the Safer at Home order, customers can still order takeout at restaurants onsite without pre-ordering. WRA also worked with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to require insurance companies to add insurance for delivery activities at no cost.

Lobbying by WRA and the National Restaurant Association helped get specific benefits for the restaurant and hospitality industry in the CARES Act that recently passed the Senate and the House of Representatives. Another email will be coming with the details of this massive bill that will bring financial relief to you and your employees. 

WRA Has Got Your Back!

WRA is also working with other associations to lobby for provisions that will help restaurant businesses and employees in Wisconsin including:

  • Waive the one-week waiting period for unemployment compensation as a temporary waiver during the pandemic
  • Waive the minimum number of employees (now 20) for eligibility in the “Work Share” program, so that really small businesses could also benefit
  • Provide additional WEDC interest-free loans to meet the larger volume of industry needs (currently capped at $5 million total in $20,000 loans – only a drop in the bucket)
  • Provide a 2-month moratorium on all state tax payments and include the opportunity to pay them back in installments to allow businesses to start to get back on their feet first
  • Make reimbursements for overpayment of estimated taxes a priority to get this revenue back to businesses
  • Impose a freeze on Unemployment Insurance rates so that businesses needing to lay off a high amount of employees do not face insurmountable increases in their UI costs
  • Allow businesses with alcohol licenses to deliver alcohol with food orders, while taking proper precautions to prevent underage drinking
  • Temporarily allow mixed alcoholic drinks to be available with take-out orders (e.g. margaritas, old fashioneds, bloody mary’s, etc.)

We will keep restaurant operators in Wisconsin posted as progress is made on these initiatives.

  • We’ve increased communications to members so that you are kept informed of the latest policies, mandates and guidelines. 
  • We’re working to add resources to our website, including an FAQ on HR practices, food safety and unemployment. We’ll also be sharing ideas for you to keep your businesses viable while serving your communities. 
  • We’ll be posting updates and ideas on our social media channels.

Customer Appreciation Posters

WRA has created posters and social media images for restaurants to download and display. Choose your favorite poster to display at your location and/or share one of the images to your social media accounts to show your customers that you appreciate their continued support.

1080x1080_ig_together3

 

1080x1080_ig_together1

 

1080x1080_ig_together2

 
  • Poster (with space for text or your logo)
  • Social Media (with space for text or your logo)
 
open_restaurant_377280694

Providing Info to the Public

Let us know if you OFFER DELIVERY, TAKE OUT, CURBSIDE, DRIVE-THRU OR ARE TEMPORARILY CLOSED

WRA is gathering information from restaurants statewide to share with the public including whether restaurants are open, provide delivery, curbside or to-go service, operating hours, etc. in the next few weeks in response to the limitations and suggestions that are in place as a result of the Coronavirus. Please provide us with information about your restaurant.

Provide Info on Your Restaurant

Chef washing hands

Information and Resources

WISCONSIN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (WEDC)

WEDC has information and resources to help navigate some of the challenges that COVID-19 is presenting for small businesses in Wisconsin.

Navigating Through COVID-19 in Wisconsin
a Guide for Small Businesses 

WEDC Website - COVID-19 Business Resources 

National Restaurant Association

The National Restaurant Association has information and resources specifically for restaurant operators relating to the Coronavirus

Resources & Info 

Department of Tourism

Sarah Meaney, Secretary Designee for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism sent a letter on March 16th to industry professionals regarding Coronavirus and the tourism industry in Wisconsin.  Click the button below to read the letter.

View Letter 

Would you like us to add you to our email and text communications on Coronavirus?

If you are not currently a WRA member but would like to receive communications regarding the Coronavirus, please fill out the form below.

Please fill out this reCAPTCHA.