Washington, DC – The National Restaurant Association today sent a letter to the National Governors Association and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to set the record straight on the safety efforts restaurants are taking during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter highlights how the industry was highly regulated by state and federal requirements before the pandemic and has stepped up its safety protocols to meet new state and federal mandates for reopening. The Association also dispels some of the inaccurate information about the industry that continues to dot media coverage, social media conversations, and statements from some public officials.

When states began to think about coming out of the pandemic shutdown this spring, the Association worked with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), academia, the Conference for Food Protection, public health officials and industry representatives, to produce a detailed Restaurant Reopening Guidance on how to reopen in a safe way for employees, customers, and their communities. 

“Throughout this public health crisis, the National Restaurant Association has been focused on making the latest and most important scientific information about the novel coronavirus and the latest best practices for operation during the pandemic easily available to the industry,” said Larry Lynch, senior vice president for Science and Industry. “Our owners, operators, and employees truly believe that we are all in this together and share an unwavering commitment to customer and employee safety.”

Restaurants have lost more jobs and more revenue than any other sector of the economy because of the pandemic—and it will be among the slowest to recover. At the height of the shutdowns, the industry shed two-thirds of all jobs, and March-June, it lost more than $145 billion in revenue. Since the start of July, nearly 100,000 dining rooms have been shuttered again by state or local mandate putting people out of work and costing owners thousands in lost reopening investments.

“Closing restaurants a second time puts dangerous strain on an industry that is struggling to stay afloat,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of Public Affairs. “Restaurants do not open and close as easily as flipping an on/off switch. Making modifications for social distancing, purchasing PPE, training staff on new safety protocols, and stocking kitchens for increased service all add to a restaurant’s bottom line. The fewer people we can serve, the more money we lose, and the less likely it is that the cornerstone restaurant in a community survives.”

Read the full letter to the National Governors Association here.



Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.6 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.

Contact: Vanessa Sink (202) 331-5900