CoronaVirus - Recent Updates

March 20, 2020

Frequently asked questions and answers are added and updated daily on our site. Can’t find what you need? Please send your question in writing to sarah@rihospitality.org and RIHA will research to report your answer as soon as we can.

March 19, 2020 11:00am

Action Alert

Sales Tax Extension

The Governor announced yesterday that she will not be offering a sales tax extension to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. As a reminder, the deadline to file your sales tax to the state is tomorrow, March 20, 2020.

If you need an extension, we recommend that you contact the RI Department of Taxation at 401-574-8955. You should also email them at tax.excise@tax.ri.gov. There may be an opportunity to limited relief.

Municipal Tax Extensions

RIHA has been personally contacting the decision makers in Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns, requesting that they follow the lead of Warwick, Cranston and Newport in extending municipal tax deadlines for residents and businesses. Many municipalities are in the process of granting extensions.

We will be issuing a full review of these efforts this afternoon in our Daily Briefing.

March 17, 2020 11:30am

Urge Congress to act now

March 16, 2020 10:30am

Takeout and Delivery Food Safety Guidelines

Dear RIHA Membership,

On Sunday, March 15, 2020 the RI Hospitality Association Board of Directors voted to work with Governor Gina Raimondo and her administration on the most effective and safe way to temporarily close Rhode Island restaurants as we all work toward slowing the spread of COVID-19. As part of this vote, we have asked the governor to allow restaurants to offer delivery and curbside pickup, and to allow hotels to serve guests already in residence.

Effective March 17, 2020, the State is mandating that all restaurants transition to take out and curbside pickup. Hotels will be allowed to serve guests via room service.

While this might seem like an extreme measure, several states including Massachusetts, Washington State, Ohio and Illinois have already enacted restaurant closures statewide with many other cities and states enacting significant restrictions on the hospitality industry.

We all need to work together in this unprecedented time and a closure now will enable all of us to safely get back to work and back to normal sooner rather than later.

Sincerely,

Dale J. Venturini
President/CEO

Updates on Restaurant Closure Rules

Today, Governor Raimondo announced that she is mandating that all establishments that offer food or drink stop on-premise consumption of food and drink.

Due to the efforts of RIHA, the Governor is allowing establishments to continue takeout and delivery orders.

According to the Executive Order, any restaurant, bar or establishment that offers food or drink is allowed to continue offering takeout and delivery as long as the establishment and customers are adhering to the social distancing requirements set forth by the RI Department of Health.

We understand that there are many unanswered questions. We are doing our best to get you answers as fast as possible.

If you have additional questions, please email Sarah Bratko at Sarah@rihospitality.org.

Can I do alcohol takeout?

No. The Executive Order currently only allows the sale of non-alcoholic beverages for takeout and delivery.

State Law prohibited the sale of alcohol through takeout or delivery.

What about catering tastings? What about breweries?

The Executive Order prohibits on premise dining or drinking in any establishment that sells food or drink. This includes catering companies and breweries.

Guide to Unemployment Benefits for Hospitality Employees

As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all on-premise dining locations must be closed by Executive Order. Curbside takeout and delivery are still allowed.

We understand that businesses are making difficult decisions with regards to their businesses and employees. Please keep an eye on your email and RIHA's social media.

If you have a question regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on your business, please put in writing and send by email to Sarah@rihospitality.org.

With the high volume of questions, we can only answer those that are in writing to our email.

We don’t have all of the answers yet, however, we will find out the answer as quickly as we can.

Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.

Who is eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employees who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut due to the COVID-19 outbreak are eligible for unemployment benefits.

Tipped employees are eligible for unemployment benefits and will receive benefits based on any wages they have claimed for taxation purposes.

In limited circumstances, business owners may also be eligible for benefits.

How do tipped employees file for unemployment?

Tipped employees are eligible for unemployment based on total amount of wages claimed.

When filling out the unemployment form, they should claim their hourly base wage, however, DLT will calculate their benefit amount based on all wages claimed.

How do you file for unemployment?

Employees must note that their unemployment claim is due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

There are two ways to file a claim for Unemployment Benefits:

ONLINE: File a new claim or refile your existing claim anytime using DLT's online claims system.

PHONE: Contact DLT at (401) 243-9100 to file a new claim or refile your claim during normal business hours.

What if I have another full time job?

We understand that many employees in the hospitality industry use it as supplemental income. If an employee has another full time job, as of right now, it is unlikely that they will be eligible for unemployment benefits.