Foodservice related industry associations are urging the government to take certain actions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Airport Restaurant & Retail Association (ARRA) and Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) have asked Congress to provide financial relief to retail outlets and restaurants at airports because of the impact they have endured with the plummet of airline bookings and the government-mandated closure of airport restaurants, according to a March 18 press release.
As stated in the release, ARRA and AMAC are asking the federal government to:
- Provide grants/low-interest or interest-free loans to concessionaires to allow concessionaires to cover operating expenses.
- Provide loan guarantees to concessionaires to assure their ability to continue making debt service payments and secure loans for their ongoing capital investment requirements.
and asking airports to:
- Waive rent, other fees and the imposition of penalties for at least six months with the opportunity to extend depending on the extent/impact of the crisis.
- Suspend and defer concessionaires' capital investment requirements.
- Provide operational flexibility including, but not limited to adjustments to operating hours, locations and menus/product selections as well as selective temporary closing of stores and restaurants in order to better align with passenger volumes and flows and reduce the impact on employees.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Associations have written letters to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and U.S President Donald Trump asking that the government keep gas stations, rest areas and repair facilities open, according to Reuters.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued March 18 an expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak, it stated in a press release. After a truck driver completes a delivery, he or she is obligated to receive at least 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and eight hours off duty if transporting passengers.
National Confectioners Association
The National Confectioners Association president and CEO John Downs has also written an opinion piece asking for governmental bodies to help small businesses.
"Small businesses are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, and at times like these, it’s the multigenerational businesses in our communities, like restaurants, ice cream shops, theaters, independent clothing stores and others like those in the chocolate and candy industry, that put it all on the line," Downs wrote. "These companies contribute to the national and local economies in a way that should not be overshadowed by the bailout bonanza for big business currently being considered by Congress and the White House. For many of these small businesses, there is an immediate need for support if these companies are to survive.
"It’s time to harness the collective resilience, grit and determination needed to get assistance measures across the finish line for the family-owned companies in our industry and all small businesses across the country. Wholesalers, distributors and other family-owned companies alike need business interruption liquidity so that they don’t have to lay off their employees. In other words, our elected officials need to move quickly to provide no-interest loans to these companies so that they can make payroll."