Coronavirus Recovery -
OPERATING DURING THE PANDEMIC - GUIDELINES FOR RESTAURANTS
COVID-19 SAFETY AND OPERATIONS TRAINING
EMPLOYEES WHO TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 OR HAVE BEEN EXPOSED
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE/RESTAURANT RELIEF
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
The US Small Business Administration announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program until 2022.
Keep in mind that interest continues to accrue during the deferment period and borrowers may make full or partial payments if they choose.
All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 24-months from the date of the note.
EIDL loans may still be available. EIDL Advance is closed and Targeted EIDL Advance has limited eligibility per the Small Business Administration (SBA).
All 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:
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 email@example.com
The governor’s emergency order that included a statewide mask mandate was struck down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court on March 31, 2021.
Keep in mind that businesses must still follow any local public health orders.
WRA encourages restaurant operators to contact their local health department or municipality to see what regulations are in place.
What is WRA Doing?
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.
Since the onset of the pandemic, WRA’s advocacy efforts helped accomplish the following:
On the federal level, lobbying by WRA and the National Restaurant Association helped get specific benefits for the restaurant and hospitality industry in the CARES Act and subsequent relief legislation.
More to Do
WRA is currently working on the following issues on the state and local level:
Suppliers Offering COVID-Related Goods/Services
Suppliers are essential in helping restaurants survive and thrive. We're maintaining a list of suppliers who are partners of the WRA and offering goods and services that are critical during the Coronavirus crisis. Some are also offering special discounts. We'll continue to add to the list so check back often.
Employees Who Have Tested Positive for COVID-19 or Have Been Exposed
Are you grappling with the issue of an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive? You're not alone. Our Ask WRA Team has received quite a few questions from restaurant operators about this topic. WRA provides resources with the latest guidance on how to handle the situation.
Free Food Safety Training Available
Because of the challenges presented by COVID-19, ServSafe has developed a number of free resources aimed at keeping our workers and the dining public safe. Free courses include ServSafe Reopening Guidance: COVID-19 Precautions, ServSafe Delivery: COVID-19 Precautions and ServSafe Takeout: COVID-19 Precautions.
Customer Appreciation Signs
Masks Required/Suggested Posters
Social Distancing Posters
To encourage employees to properly wash their hands, WRA created several new handwashing posters.
Frequently Asked Questions
The CDC provides this guidance:
Guiding Principles for Fully Vaccinated People
• Outdoor activities pose minimal risk to fully vaccinated people.
• Most indoor activities pose low risk to fully vaccinated people, especially in areas with low or moderate transmission.
• Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant.
• Fully vaccinated people who become infected with the Delta variant can transmit it to others.
To reduce their risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others, CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people:
• Wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
• Fully vaccinated people might choose to mask regardless of the level of transmission, particularly if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in their household is unvaccinated.
• Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
• Isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
• Get tested 5-7 days after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until they receive a negative test result.
• Continue to follow any applicable federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.
At this time, there are no statewide closures, mask mandates or capacity limits and we are hopeful that they will not come to that again. As far as we know there are no local mask mandates or capacity limits in cities in Wisconsin. The CDC states that unvaccinated people should get vaccinated and continue masking until they are fully vaccinated.
OSHA's general duty clause states:
"Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees."
The spreading of the coronavirus is a recognized hazard. Since unvaccinated people can easily spread the virus, failure to mitigate that spread through mask wearing, physically distancing, etc., could result in OSHA violations and penalties. We must remember that the CDC still recommends that unvaccinated workers, still follow recommended safety protocols, such as mask wearing and physical distancing.
Everyone age 5 and up are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have been fully vaccinated with a Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you may be eligible for a booster shot.
Anyone eligible for the COVID vaccine could seek an appointment through the variety of outlets available in Wisconsin. This includes:
• Through your health care provider
• Through a community pharmacy
• Through other vaccine providers in Wisconsin, like local health departments
• By calling 844-684-1064, a DHS hotline that provides personal assistance with vaccine-related questions
• By using the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Registry to find an appointment at a community vaccine clinic
Employers can help by encouraging their staff to receive the vaccine and sharing information on where they can find an appointment. Additional detail and resources can be found on the DHS website under Vaccine Partner Resources.
Employers may require employees to be vaccinated from the COVID-19 virus. Taking the vaccine will presumably reduce or prevent other employees and customers from being infected. However, you need to be aware that employees with disabilities and religious beliefs who claim that taking the vaccine will either be harmful to them or violate a strongly held religious belief against taking the vaccine may have rights under the federal and state disability laws and religious discrimination laws. For these employees, restaurants may have to provide a reasonable accommodation, unless there is undue hardship, which the ADA defines as significant difficulty or expense for the employer. The restaurant may have to provide the employee who has refused to take the vaccine with a reasonable accommodation unless it would pose an undue hardship, which under Title VII is “more than de minimis cost” to the operation of the employer’s business. This is a lower standard than the undue hardship standard under the ADA.
When confronted with an employee who refuses to take the vaccine due to a disability, the employer can request medical support. Assuming the medical opinion supports the employee, the employer must engage in an interaction discussion with the employee to determine whether there is a reasonable accommodation that would enable the employee to continue to perform their essential job functions without compromising the safety of other employees or customers. Potential accommodations include, but are not limited to, additional personal protective equipment (PPE), such as mask and shield, moving the employee’s workstation beyond 6 feet, a temporary reassignment, teleworking, or a leave of absence. As for those with religious belief, the employer can also seek confirmation from the employee’s religious leader and, if confirmed, engage in the same interactive process discussed above. If there is no reasonable accommodation, the employer can deny the employee’s request to be exempt from taking the vaccine and if the employee still refuses, place the employee on leave or terminate the employee.
When considering whether to require employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine, be advised that the EEOC and other governmental agencies has stated that the COVID-19 virus meets the higher threshold “direct threat standard,” and “a significant risk of substantial harm would be posed to having someone with COVID-19, or symptoms of it, present in the workplace at the current time.”
This information was provided by Barry Chaet from Beck, Chaet, Bamberger & Polsky, SC
Yes. Employers are permitted to ask employees if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and require proof. Some employers are asking employees to attest to their vaccination status rather than requiring proof.
Documentation is not required for businesses with less than 100 employees, but it is recommended. This documentation, along with a good COVID prevention policy will help minimize exposure to COVID related claims. It is recommended that you add that staff has obtained the COVID vaccine to your best practices ensuring your customers, community and staff are safe.
No paid time off is required in Wisconsin if you have fewer than 100 employees. However, if an employer for example, sponsors a bus trip to a vaccine site during the workday, that time may be considered compensable. Employers with paid leave policies should follow that policy and allow employees to use paid leave to obtain the vaccine. We are learning that some employers are encouraging staff to obtain the vaccine rather than requiring it by providing paid time off, gift cards or a small bonus. In addition, side effects from the vaccine are reported as being minor and temporary but you may want to review scheduling to allow for some time off as everyone is different.
Yes, below are links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and OSHA.
For the most up to date information click here.