(Photo by Pexels user Tembela Bohle, used under a Creative Commons license)
Few industries in Delaware (and beyond) have been as hard hit in the wake of COVID-19 as the hospitality business. After a busy pre-St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Gov. John Carney shut down sit-down service for restaurants and bars in the state, leaving many, including Kelly’s Logan House, Kid Shelleen’s and Stoney’s British Pub, closing altogether for the foreseeable future.
With huge revenue losses and bills to pay, both hospitality industry owners and workers are in clear need of assistance. Today, Carney announced the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) to provide financial relief for restaurants, bars and other hospitality industry businesses that employ thousands of Delawareans.
“Restaurants, bars, hotels, and other hospitality-related businesses, and their workers, are among those most seriously impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Delaware,” said Carney via press release. “We’ve limited restaurants to takeout and delivery services and asked all Delawareans to avoid being out in public unnecessarily. Many people from other states have postponed non-essential travel, meaning they are not coming to Delaware for vacations or business. We feel it is crucial that the state step in to assist these businesses and their employees.”
HELP loans are 10-year, no-interest loans capped at $10,000 per month for rent, utilities and other bills, excluding personnel. Repayment will be deferred for nine months.
Qualified Delaware businesses must have been in operation for at least a year, have annual revenue below $1.5 million and be in a certain hospitality-connected industries. In addition, they must be current in at least 80% of payments over the past 12 months and not past due on its most recent payment on any bill for which it is applying for relief. To see if your business qualifies, email email@example.com or call 302-739-4271.
In addition to the HELP Program, the Delaware Department of Labor (DOL) has made some changes to help aid hospitality workers applying for unemployment:
- DOL will begin processing unemployment claims as they are received with the goal of benefits becoming available within a week.
- DOL will allow part-time income while collecting benefits as long as employees can demonstrate their decreased hours and earnings.
- DOL will not classify tipped employees as minimum wage earners as long as their tips are reported as wages.
Some essential businesses in Delaware will be hiring temporary employees during this time to help with increased demand and to help employ laid off workers locally: Amazon has announced that it will be hiring 150 people in Delaware, according to the Delaware Business Times, and Shop Rite is currently hiring new people to work in online orders and delivery.
Meanwhile, support local hospitality businesses that are (as of Wednesday afternoon) offering pickup and delivery options. Some deals we’ve come across include:
- 25% off all regular priced items when ordered online at Season’s Pizza
- Chelsea Tavern has takeout and delivery, and is giving away $25 gift cards with the purchase of $50 gift cards
- Girard & Faire, Stitch House Brewery and Locale BBQ Post are open for takeout
- Uber Eats offers no-fee delivery for local eateries on a rotation basis, including El Toro, Mikimoto’s, Bubble Shack, Grapes Real Jamaican Cuisine, Opa! Opa! and Walt’s Flavor Crisp Chicken (to name just a few)
- Wilmington Brew Works and I Don’t Give a Fork food truck are coming together for a takeout event on Friday, March 20, where you can grab and go some food and stock up on local craft beer
Got a special takeout or virtual event we should feature? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.-30-
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