Six feet

The National Restaurant Association released a series of videos on the best ways to neutralize conflicts with patrons. Some of the topics covered include, how to deal with customers who are anti-maskers or who refuse to adhere to social distancing. Ironically, servers and hosts also need tips on how to handle customers who argue with each other over some form of COVID prevention.

To check the association's COVID response, go to www.restaurant.org.

Tables for 10

Just in time for the holidays, the governor announced that groups of 10 could be seated indoors in restaurants. The original restrictions, however, are still in place—50 percent capacity, all guests must be seated and workers must wear masks at all times. As a reminder: Other key requirements include: reservations are required, bar areas can only seat parties of four or fewer, and no dancing, and thankfully, no karaoke singing.

For entertainment venues, the rules have been altered: Live bands are allowed, as long as there is social distancing. While some form of dancing is allowed, it comes with so many guidelines that hearken back to days of junior high school dances, it may not be fun except for weddings. For example, guidelines call for:

Divide participants into groups using name tags or other methods, and allow them access to the dance floor at different times.

Consider only playing music that encourages touchless dancing rather than dancing while embraced.

Designate a person (DJ, performer, host, planner, or combination) to monitor and enforce the limited number of people on the dance floor at the same time.

Wait as long as you can for PPP forgiveness

As the South African human rights activist Desmond Tutu said, "Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning,” which is exactly what restaurant owners are hoping happens with their Paycheck Protection Program, better known as PPP loans.

Recipients of the loans don’t have to submit an application to their bank to have the loans forgiven until 10 months following their cover period, Erik Ordal of Myslajek, Kemo & Spencer said on a call to operators, curated by Susan Eder, owner of Cue the Accountant. The period in which you need to use the funds is six months from when you receive it.

Why wait? Guidance on how to handle that first round of loans is still being formulated by the government, plus there may be another round of PPP funds specifically for the restaurant industry. So wait as long as you can to submit your application for forgiveness, in order to see what the SBA does, and to get further definition on the process.

Not knowing the amount of the loans that will be written off or forgiven has created some problems in planning. Additionally, there has been complications for companies that are in the process of being sold or a change of ownership until their loans are officially forgiven.

Some advice the accountants gave included: Don’t sit on the money and let your covered period lapse, exhaust the funds so that you can apply for the second round. If it passes it will be more tailored for the industries targeted.

And due to the shifting guidelines, it's always advisable to check with your lawyer or accountant for advice.

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