Yesterday marked my second anniversary as Executive Director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association and I can honestly say that I’m blessed to have been given this opportunity. In a few short years, I’ve learned a lot about our industry and faced many challenges, but I don’t think any of us could have imagined facing this unprecedented pandemic.
While the coronavirus may not discriminate based on nationality or culture, there is one area where it does have a very disproportionate impact: the business community. The nature of the hospitality industry means that our restaurants and our tens of thousands of employees have been more quickly and more severely harmed by this epidemic than any other sector of commerce.
We understand why state government continues to take drastic action in order to save as many lives as possible. After all, our members are part of the fabric of their local communities, and they care deeply about their employees and customers. It’s why our association has worked with state officials at each step of the way to make sure these changes are done in as fair and practical a way as possible, while at the same time supporting our businesses.
Recently, our Governor set a new timeline—mid-May—for reopening our restaurants, which will offer new challenges for our industry. However, please know that our association is working hard to help craft a reopening plan that will benefit restaurants, while at the same time protecting our employees and customers.
To that end, the CRA has provided the Lamont Administration a list of real, actionable steps that, if taken, could help revitalize our industry. And as Connecticut takes tentative steps toward reopening, our organization will provide our state and federal leaders with specific policy recommendations aimed at helping restaurants recover.
In addition, we will continue to coordinate with the National Restaurant Association and members of our Connecticut delegation to revise the CARES Act, and seek additional stimulus in a phase IV package.
Please let me know what else you think we can and should be doing during this unbelievably difficult period. I’m here to listen to your ideas, answer your questions, or just listen if you need a place to vent. I want to thank you again for allowing me to fight on your behalf each and every day, as I know we can and will get through it together.
Connecticut Restaurant Association